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PTI to go solo for LG polls in Rawalpindi

PTI to go solo for LG polls in Rawalpindi

RAWALPINDI: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Rawalpindi chapter has decided to go solo in the upcoming local government elections in the garrison city.

According to the local leadership, the PTI is in a strong position to field its candidates without an alliance with other parties.

The move came a day after seven opposition parties in Punjab - the PPP, PTI, JI, PAT, Majilis Wahadatul Muslimeen, Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan and Sunni Ittehad Council - announced in Lahore their decision about seat adjustments in the upcoming local government elections against the ruling PML-N.

A local Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader told Dawn that there was resentment within the party for making an alliance with Sheikh Rashid Ahmed though it was limited to NA-55.

It may be mentioned that 46 union councils in the Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation fall in two constituencies of National Assembly - NA-55 and NA-56. Sheikh Rashid was elected from NA-55 and Imran Khan from NA-56.

The PTI has almost finalised the names of its candidates in NA-56 without joining hands with any political party.

He said the local chapter had also sent the nomination of the city mayor for an approval by the party chairman as it wanted to bring its own mayor and district council chairman.

Zahid Kazmi, former secretary general Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, said the party was preparing to come to the political fray without any external support to provide an opportunity to its workers to contest the local government polls so that the party would get strength at the grass-roots level.

“The ruling PML-N is not strong enough so that we do not need the support of other parties. The residents of the garrison city are already against the ruling party as it failed to do anything during the last eight years in power,” he said.

He said in the 2013 elections, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf won two seats of National Assembly and three seats of the Punjab assembly from the city areas whereas other parties failed to get even a single seat.

He said in the cantonment elections, the PTI did not make an alliance with any party and gave a tough time to the ruling PML-N.

“Though we lost the elections due to multiple factors, the PTI is being organised to win the LG polls,” he said.

PTI NA-56 organiser Fayazul Hasan Chohan, who is looking after the constituency from which Imran Khan was elected, also supported the idea of going solo in the polls.

“Neither an electoral alliance nor a seat adjustment will be an option for us at least in the garrison city.”

He said the party would make arrangements and field its own workers to contest the the local government elections.

Though the party has already allowed the union council members to make seat adjustment with local political figures, it is impossible to make such arrangements with the PPP, JI or JUI, he said.

He said if a seat adjustment was done, it would be limited to one or two union councils.

The party workers in Rawalpindi are prepared to defeat the ruling PML-N like they did in the 2013 elections, he added.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2015

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