PTI Faces Setback as Imran Khan’s Nominations Rejected from Two Constituencies

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) suffered a major blow as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) rejected the nomination papers of its founder and former prime minister Imran Khan from two constituencies, along with several other party leaders, ahead of the February 8 general elections.

Imran Khan, who was ousted in a no-confidence vote in April 2022 and later jailed on corruption charges, was disqualified from contesting elections for five years by the ECP. His nominations from Lahore’s NA-122 and Mianwali’s NA-89 were challenged by his rivals on various grounds and the returning officers upheld the objections.

In Lahore, former PML-N MPA Mian Naseer filed an objection against Imran Khan, stating that his proposer and seconder were not voters of the constituency. The returning officer, Sajjad Ahmad Qureshi, accepted the objection and rejected Imran Khan’s nomination. However, he approved the nominations of PML-N leader Saad Rafique, PTI leader Latif Khosa and advocate Azhar Siddique from the same constituency. PTI’s Khurram Latif Khosa was also rejected from NA-122.

In Mianwali, Imran Khan’s home constituency, the returning officer rejected his nomination on the basis of an objection filed by a candidate, Khurram Hameed, who claimed that Imran Khan was a convict and a defaulter of salaries of social security department’s officials. Imran Khan had won from this constituency in the 2018 and 2022 elections.

Imran Khan’s legal team said that the district court, which sentenced him to three years in prison and disqualified him for five years in the Toshakhana corruption case, gave a baseless judgment. They said they would challenge the decision in the Supreme Court on Friday. Imran Khan has also pleaded not guilty to charges of leaking state secrets in another case.

The PTI also faced rejection of nominations of its vice chairman and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi from three constituencies – NA-214 Tharparkar, NA-150 Multan and NA-151 Multan. His son Zain Qureshi and daughter Meherbano Qureshi were also rejected from NA-151. The objections against them included dual nationality, tax evasion and fake degrees.

Former National Assembly speaker and PTI leader Qasim Suri also faced disqualification as his nomination papers from NA-50 Fateh Jang were rejected. The returning officer said that Suri was a proclaimed offender, his identity card was blocked and he was a defaulter of the state. Suri was also accused of misusing his authority as the speaker and violating the code of conduct.

Former prime minister’s special assistant Zulfi Bukhari, who is also a close aide of Imran Khan, was also barred from contesting elections from NA-50 Fateh Jang. The returning officer said that Bukhari had not submitted his tax returns and had concealed his assets.

Another PTI leader who faced rejection was former federal minister Hammad Azhar, whose nomination papers from PP-172 and NA-129 Lahore were turned down. The returning officer said that Azhar had not declared his income and assets and had submitted fake documents. PTI leader Hassan Yousaf was also rejected from PP-70.

The PTI condemned the rejection of its candidates and alleged that it was a conspiracy to exclude the party from the elections. It said that the cases against its leaders were fabricated and politically motivated. It said that it would appeal against the decisions in the higher courts and would not give up its struggle for the supremacy of the constitution and law in the country.

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