ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf senior leaders were in a state of shock when none other than the party chief Imran Khan did not appear to cast his vote in the election of the prime minister.

The party had fielded its candidate in the election but the party, despite tall claims about the parliamentary process, could not get the vote of its own chairman.

The senior leadership of the party did not ignore the absence of chairman and expressed displeasure.

PTI sources claimed that Imran Khan did not go to the National Assembly due to his busy schedule and engagements.

PTI had nominated Awami Muslim League chief Shiekh Rashid Ahmed as its candidate against ruling party candidate Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. Khaqan was elected as the Prime Minister of Pakistan with a huge majority.

Talking to The Nation, a senior PTI leader said the party chairman should have been present in last National Assembly session for the support of the party candidate.

He said Khan wasted his vote, instead of leading the PTI legislators from the front against the government. He said, “Imran Khan gave a wrong message to those MPs who supported and cast their vote in favour of Shiekh Rashid and also provided the space to the opposition to criticize the PTI candidate”. 

He said it was the big day for the PTI and Imran Khan because they fought last three and half years to throw out the former PM Nawaz Sharif from Parliament.

Speaker National Assembly, Ayaz Sadiq announced the victory of Shahid Khaqan after securing 221 votes and Pakistan People’s Party candidate Syed Naveed Qamar received 47 and Shiekh Rashid 33 votes.

Another senior leader told The Nation on the condition of the anonymity, he wondered and got the disappointment over his party chairman decision regarding the boycott of the NA session and did not cast vote to Shiekh Rashid. He said, “this kind of expression of the second largest political party was not acceptable for party workers and leaders”. 

He also raised the question on the commitment of Khan with the Parliament.

He said that two votes of PTI including Imran Khan and MNA Ayesha Gulalai could not cast due to the arrogant attitude of the PTI chief.  “It was surprising for him that a party head who was available in Islamabad avoided to turn up the National Assembly for the support of the candidate,” he added.

He said this is peak time of political making and breaking, therefore, Imran Khan should have come and engaged senior politicians of other political parties for next elections. But, this kind of attitude shows the non-seriousness of a party head in the political process, he said.

PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhary said that Imran Khan had given his message to the nation in PTI thanksgiving rally in Islamabad on Sunday. He said that it was not the big event and PTI chairman sent Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak to attend the NA session on behalf of him for the support of PTI candidate.