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By Faisal Ali Ghumman
LAHORE: The Pakistan Teheek-e-Insaaf (PTI) announced on Friday 173 candidates finalized for National Assembly seats out of 272 NA seats to be contested directly across the country.
It also announced 290 candidates out of total 577 seats for provincial assemblies of Punjab, Sindh, Kyber Pakhtunkhawa and Balochistan, according to list of its candidates of National Assembly and provincial assemblies.
As per the list finalized by the party’s parliamentary board, the party has announced its candidates for 60 percent NA and 40 percent constituencies of provincial assemblies.
Of 141 NA seats in Punjab, as many as 112 candidates have so far been finalized by the party leadership.
Party’s insiders say the party will finalize the remaining seats in days to come as a good number of politicians from other parties recently joined the party’s ranks.
There are reports that in Punjab about 40 percent candidates will be new entrants.
According to PTI, Imran Khan will be contesting elections from five NA constituencies which include NA-35 Bannu, NA-53 Islamabad II, NA-95 Mianwali I, NA-131 Lahore IX and NA-243 Karachi.
In a video message, Khan said the parliamentary board of PTI under his chair announced the candidates and the tickets were issued purely on merit.
He said it was very hard phase as there were over 4,500 candidates and the party has issued tickets to 400 to 500.
Vice Chairman PTA Shah Mehmood Qureshi will take part in elections from NA-156 Multan, Fawad Chaudhry from NA-67 Jhelum; Pervez Khattak from NA-25 Nowshera, Murad Saeed from NA-4 Swat; Abdul Aleem Khan NA-129 Lahore; Amir Mehmood Kiyani NA-61 Rawalpindi; Dr Yasmeen Rashid NA125 Lahore; Shafqat Mehmood NA-130 Lahore and others.
In Lahore, National Assembly constituency NA-123 will have PTI’s Meher Wajid, whereas Waleed Iqbal will be candidate for NA-124.
Dr Yasmeen Rashid for NA-125 and Hammad Azhar for NA-126. Jamshed Iqbal will be battling it out for NA-127 constituency, while NA-128 will have PTI’s Ijaz Diyalt.
Moreover, Aleem Khan will be candidate for NA-129, while NA-130 will have Shafqat Mehmood, Imran Khan will be in contest for NA-131 while Ijaz Chaudhry will be contesting from NA- 133.
Furthermore PTI’s Mansha Sindhu will be contesting from NA 134, while Karamat Khokhar from the same party will make his entry in NA-135. PTI leader Khalid Gujjar will be contesting election from NA-136.
Political observers are of the view that the entry of some controversial political figures in the PTI’s ranks, sidelining of some ideological members of the party like former central secretary information, Umer Cheema and former PTI Punjab general secretary Amin Zaki, and Reham Khan’s upcoming book’s revelations have given bad name to the party’s reputation before elections.
They say some key members of PTI’s old formations have serious objections over the awarding of tickets to such candidates who were their opponents in the previous elections.
The observers say even then PTI and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) being two major political arch rivals are expected to give tough time to each other in the elections.