The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Karachi leaders on Thursday criticised the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for not allowing two federal ministers of the party to take part in electioneering for the upcoming by-poll in the Baldia Town constituency, NA-249, in the city.
After the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had sent its Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) leaders to run the party’s electoral campaign and woo the Pashtun voters in the constituency for its candidate, former federal minister Miftah Ismail, for the upcoming by-poll, the PTI Karachi chapter also invited two of its federal ministers — Murad Saeed and Sheharyar Afridi — for electioneering in favour of its candidate by addressing rallies and meeting Pashtun elders in the constituency.
However, the PTI’s plan was spoiled after the ECP on Wednesday barred the federal ministers from participating in the PTI election campaign for the NA-249 by-election to be held on April 29.
“The ECP’s objections are only for the PTI as the electoral body was silent on the violations of other political parties, including the PML-N, in NA-249,” said PTI Karachi President and MPA Khurrum Sher Zaman, who expressed his unhappiness over the ECP’s decision to stop the federal ministers from participating in the election campaign.
In a statement, Zaman said that stopping Saeed, the federal minister for communication, from campaigning was meant to provide oxygen to the opposition. “Murad Saeed exposes the black deeds of the opposition,” he remarked.
The PTI MPA said that leaders of rival political parties, including the PML-N, kept coming to the constituency. “The ECP should focus on its work instead of committing such biased moves,” he said.
A PTI leader from District West said the party’s leaders in NA-249 had arranged several activities in the Pashtun-populated areas of the constituency for Saeed. “Saeed is a popular young leader of the party from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and has the ability to mobilise the Pashtun votes in the constituency in favour of the PTI’s candidate Amjad Afridi,” the PTI Karachi president told The News.
It is however interesting to note that Federal Minister for Railway Azam Khan Swati visited the PTI candidate’s office in NA-249 and also met community elders in the constituency for canvassing.
In the past two weeks, the PML-N central leadership sent the party’s KP chief and former federal minister Amir Muqam, former National Assembly deputy speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi, former MPA from Shangla Rashad Khan and other leaders to help Ismail win the by-poll. The PML-N leaders from KP addressed the party’s electoral gatherings, visited Pashtun neighbourhoods in Baldia Town and met community elders to gain support for Ismail.