PAT supporters may back any candidate except PML-N’s

2018-07-02T02:25:45+05:00 Ashraf Mumtaz

LAHORE - The Pakistan Awami Tehreek feels ‘humiliated’ after PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s failure to meet Dr Tahirul Qadri during the last 10 days of the month of Ramazan despite assurances by various party leaders that the cricketer-turned-politician would call on the firebrand cleric to discuss cooperation for the July 25 elections.

Party sources told The Nation that because of assurances given by various PTI leaders Dr Qadri waited every day at Shehr-e-Aitkaf (Lahore) to meet his ‘political cousin’ but the latter did not turn up.

Had the PTI chairman turned up the PAT would have directed its supporters across the country to support Imran Khan’s nominees.

The PAT, it is said, has more harmony of thought with the PTI than any other party.

The PTI is confident that it will get majority seats in the election and will be in a position to form government without the support of any other party. However, many leaders, even Asif Ali Zardari, insist that no party will win majority and the next government will be a coalition.

The PAT claims that it has up to 5,000 votes in every constituency, which could play a decisive role in the victory of PTI candidates on closely-contested seats. At times even a single vote matters a lot, argued the PAT sources, highlighting the importance of the followers of Dr Qadri.

The PAT and PTI had staged over three months of joint sit-in in Islamabad in 2014 to mount pressure on the PML-N government to quit. However, the move failed to bring the desired results for multiple reasons. Contacts between the two parties weakened after the sit-in, although their opposition to the PML-N remained a common target.

Answering a question, the PAT sources said that the gulf between the ‘political cousins’ has widened after Imran Khan’s failure to call on Dr Qadri to discuss a common future programme.

They said Imran Khan’s ‘derogatory’ attitude has disappointed Dr Qadri a lot and now instead of supporting the PTI chief, the PAT would strive for the change of the corrupt system. They pointed out that Imran had made adjustments even with the PML-Q, but ignored the PAT.

Asked who the PAT supporters would vote for in the July 25 elections, the sources said the PAT has directed its followers across the country to support any candidate in their respective constituencies except the PML-N nominees. This implies that even the PTI contestants can be supported if they are better than their rivals in the field.

The sources said some PAT supporters are contesting the election in their individual capacity and they cannot use the party flag or any other sign that establishes their affiliation with the party. Office-bearers wanting to take part in the election would have to give up their party offices, the sources said. Already, various leaders who wanted to contest have taken back their nomination papers in the light of the party policy. However, there are also some who are still in the field but they are not using the party platform.


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