Lahore - PTI has decided to take solo flight in the local bodies’ polls and will only make seat adjustments in some regions of Punjab with other parties, except PPP.  However, PTI is strongly considering making electoral arrangements with Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamat (ASWJ) in some districts of North and South Punjab for local elections.

The PTI leadership, during a meeting of the party’s Punjab Local Government Committee with Imran Khan in the chair, ruled out possibility of contesting local bodies’ polls on a joint opposition platform.  The meeting decided to make only seat adjustments with likeminded parties in some regions of the province, excluding PPP.

Keeping in view the strong vote bank of ASWJ in some districts of north and south Punjab and its growing differences with the ruling party, the PTI leadership attached high importance to local electoral arrangements with ASWJ.  The meeting, while deciding to file a petition challenging the Local Government Act in a court of law, also directed its legal eagles to prepare a draft for the petition.

PTI senior leader Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed who was part of the meeting, when contacted, said, “The party will not contest elections from the platform of any proposed joint opposition and face the challenge independently.” He added, “We will make seat adjustments, where needed, with other likeminded parties excluding PPP.”  Mehmood-ur-Rasheed who is opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly said, “PTI will file a petition challenging the Local Government Act in a few days, besides launching a protest campaign against the act.”

The party sources told this correspondent that some leaders proposed contacting ASWJ to make electoral arrangement for local bodies’ polls in some districts of north and south Punjab when the party starts a campaign to ally with religio-political parties.

These leaders were of the view that ASWJ had developed serious differences with the ruling party of the province, so PTI should focus on making special electoral arrangements with that party in some districts of north and south Punjab.

According to sources, a small group of the party leaders opposed the idea of making any kind of electoral arrangement with ASWJ, saying it would damage the party’s image as a liberal democratic force internationally and domestically as it had already sharing power in Khyber Pukhtunkhawa with a religious party.

They opined the party should consider making electoral arrangements with PPP in south Punjab for local bodies’ polls.

Addressing the meeting, PTI Chairman Imran Khan announced the party would prove in the local bodies’ elections that it had a strong vote bank. He said the Punjab government should learn from the Khyber Pukhtunkhawa government’s plan to hold the local bodies’ polls on party basis by using the electronic voting system. Imran said the Punjab government’s decision to hold the local elections on non-party basis would be a clear violation of the Constitution and Charter of Democracy.  He directed the Punjab local government committee to start an early door-to-door campaign for local bodies’ elections and organise workshops for the party volunteers to check technical rigging at polling stations.

Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Dr Yasmin Rashid, Khursheed Kasuri, Fareed-ud-Din, Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed, Shafqat Mehmood, Abdul Aleem Khan, Rai Hassan Nawaz, Mian Aslam Iqbal, Naeem Mir, Shanila Rout, Sobia Kamal and others attended the meeting.