ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has finally announced its candidates for the forthcoming election in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) where the election has been scheduled for November 15.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz, Minister of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur and Senior Vice President of PTI Parliamentary Board Arshad Dad announced 22 candidates for the next election of Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) which also included two candidates of Majlis-e-Wahdat Ul Muslimeen (MWM), the political party and coalition partner of PTI in the election. MWM’s Central Political Secretary Nasir Sherazi also addressed the press conference.
As per Arshad Dad, PTI, which is still in negotiation with another political party Tehrik-e-Islami, has left two constituencies, including GBLA-1 (Gilgit-1) and GBLA-4 (Nagar-1) pending, till the conclusion of negotiation with the second coalition partner.
As per details, Syed Jafar Shah, the president of PTI GB, has been granted the ticket of GBLA-3 (Gilgit-3) while Fateh Ullah Khan, general secretary of PTI GB has been fielded in the constituency of GBLA-2 (Gilgit-2) where he would be contesting election against former chief minister Hafeezur Rehman and candidates of other political parties.
The ruling party has also granted tickets to Col Abaid Ullah Baig, Raja Muhammad Zakaria Khan, Wazir Hassan, Syed Amjad Ali, Raja Muhammad Azam Khan Muhammad Khalid Khursheed Khan, Shamsul Haq Lone, Naushad Alam, Ateequllah, Haider Khan, Haji Gulbar Khan, Zafar Muhammad, Nazir Ahmed, Raja Jahanzeb, Muhammad Ibrahim Sanai, Amina Ansari and Syed Shamsuddin for the GBLA-6, GBLA-7, GBLA -10, GBLA-11, GBLA-12, GBLA-13, GBLA-14, GBLA-15, GBLA-16, GBLA-17, GBLA-18, GBLA-19, GBLA-20, GBLA-21, GBLA-22, GBLA-23 and GBLA-24 respectively.
Interestingly PTI has also granted a ticket to Haji Fida Nashad, a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and speaker GBLA-9 (Skardu-3) suspiciously as he has not openly joined PTI. He had even not appeared in the interview process of the party in which around 100 ticket aspirants of the party had appeared in Islamabad last month.
When asked about the decision of granting a ticket to the speaker, Ali Amin Gandapur claimed that Nashad was in contact with his party weeks ago. Arshad, however, claimed that the candidate had joined a few days ago. Unlike those who joined PTI, while leaving other parties, the joining of Nashad was kept secret.
After the weeks-long negotiation, the PTI has agreed to grant two tickets to MWM in GBLA-5 (Nagar-2) and GBLA-8 (Skardu-2) besides some adjustments in technocrats’ seats after the election.
In reply to a query about making a team of electables, who joined PTI within last few months, instead of granting preferring party stalwarts and devotees, Ali Amin said that there were also candidates of PTI office-bearers who have been granted the tickets. In fact, there were serious reservations about the distribution of tickets among those who joined the parties even weeks and days before the announcement of tickets.
Though the party received signed affidavits from all those who appeared for the interview to ensure their support to the party’s candidates in the election, many of the ticket aspirants are likely to leave the party after the announcement to join other political parties or contest the polls as independent candidates. Interestingly, PTI has tried to ban ticket aspirants from even contesting elections as independent candidates by forcing them to sign affidavits.
It is expected other parties like PML-N, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and others would be making announcements regarding the party ticket holders as many heavyweights, who were waiting for PTI tickets, would be joining the other parties.
During the press conference, Nasir Sherazi of MWM claimed though his party has strong candidates in at least six constituencies, the party had after negotiation with PTI, has agreed to field candidates in two constituencies. In the rest of constituencies, his party would be supporting PTI.