Rawalpindi - A clear split in the ranks of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf  surfaced due to alleged undue favour being given to ex-MNA and President of Awami Muslim League Sheikh Rashid Ahmed by PTI Chairman Imran Khan. The AML President, Sheikh Rashid Khan, will contest election from NA 62,63 while PTI has not fielded any candidate in these two constituencies.

However, PTI’s disgruntled former MPA Ijaz Khan Jazzi has also declared Sheikh Rashid Ahmed as a bone of contention between the diehard party workers of PTI and their chief Imran Khan. He also decided to contest general elections 2018 against Sheikh Rashid from the National Assembly constituency NA-62 which was previously NA-56.

Meanwhile, another disgruntled candidate of PTI Col (Retd) Ajmal Sabir along with scores of his enraged workers marched from Chontra to Bani Gala to protest Imran Khan’s decision for not awarding him party ticket to contest general elections 2018.

According to political pundits, the unwise and hasty decisions of party chief Imran Khan has not only caused a dent to the party in Rawalpindi but also infuriated the diehard workers across the city. This would also divide the party vote bank, they predicted. “The PTI should not support Sheikh Rashid Ahmed in NA-60 and NA-62. We have so many candidates in line to take on the political opponents in the two main constituencies,” said Ijaz Khan Jazzi while talking to The Nation on Saturday.

He said PTI Chairman Imran Khan should also have fielded his own party candidate from NA-62 instead of Sheikh Rashid Ahmed Khan. “Sheikh Rashid is damaging PTI in the city. He has been playing a double game. He has divided us. I will contest elections against him from NA-62 and will beat him with a big margin,” claimed former MPA Ijaz Khan Jazzi. He said the party workers and leaders have the right to achieve party tickets as they had done a lot and rendered countless sacrifices for party. He said that he has started door to door campaign to muster the support of voters.

“I have been summoned by party chief Imran Khan for a meeting in Bani Gala after two days. I will bring all the reservations of party men into notice of the party chief and will try to convince him to field his own candidate in NA-62,” he said.

Ijaz Khan Jazzi had won general elections 2013 by bagging 35800 votes from PP-12 Rawalpindi and has been elected as MPA. His rivals Sardar Muhammad Nasim Khan (Mayor Rawalpindi) could get 34021 while Babar Sultan Jadoon of PPP obtained 7347 votes.      

Meanwhile, another disgruntled leader of PTI Col (Retd) Ajmal Sabir has vented his anger against Imran Khan for not giving him ticket. He took out a rally from Chontra and culminated at Bani Gala. “We want party ticket for Col (Retd) Ajmal Sabir”, “Don’t do injustice with us” and “We oppose fielding Ghulam Sarwar Khan from two constituencies” were the slogans mentioned on placards held by some protestors. The PTI parliamentary board has awarded party tickets to Ghulam Sarwar Khan to face former federal minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in Taxila and Chakri in the elections while ignoring the most favourite Col (Retd) Ajmal Sabir, who had faced defeat at the hands of Ch Nisar in general elections 2013.

So far, PTI has finalised its three others candidates in Rawalpindi for contesting general elections 2018. These candidates included Sheryar Riaz (PP-18), Raja Rashid Hafiz (PP-18) and Fayyaz Ul Hassan Chohan (PP-17).

Similarly, many other politicians belonging to different political parties have submitted their nomination papers with the returning officers concerned. PML-M Malik Shakil Ahmed Awan, Zia Ullah Shah, Sajjad Khan, Haji Gulzar Awan and Nadim Sheikh of PPP and PTI leader Musadiq Ghuman were the candidates who filed nomination papers on Saturday.