ISLAMABAD - In what seems to be election tactics and aimed at benefiting some sympathizers contesting as independent candidates, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has fielded comparatively weak candidates against formers with the hope that they would join the party after winning elections.
The strategy had been adopted to avoid criticism ostensibly from political opponents and party members for awarding tickets to some controversial figures.
Had the party embraced these political bigwigs, who are contesting as independent candidates before the election and awarded them tickets, the party could have faced severe criticism from the opponents as had been the case after it gave tickets to turncoats.
These comparatively strong independent candidates contesting against PTI's mostly female candidates might unconditionally support the party after winning the general election. These independent contenders, owing to the opposition from within the party, were not given party tickets to contest the general election, background discussions with the party members left this impression.
In south Punjab, famous political figure, Dost Muhammad Khosa, failed to face off his opponents within the PTI to a get a ticket. After that Khosa has decided to contest on both seats of the Punjab Assembly and the National Assembly as an independent candidate.
On the National Assembly seat from Dera Ghazi Khan, Khosa is contesting against PTI’s Zartaj Gul.
Surprisingly, he is facing another PTI female candidate, Shaheena Najeeb, on the Punjab Assembly’s PP-289 seat.
Both Hanif Pitafi and Khosa, political experts say, were considered to be awarded PTI tickets from this constituency, but in order to avoid a controversy, the party decided to award the ticket to Shaheena Najeeb. The name of the female candidate was also placed on a reserved seat for the party.
Likewise, Awami Raj Party (ARP) chief Jamshed Dasti, famous as ‘one-five’ in his area, had also made attempts for a seat adjustment with the PTI but he failed to convince PTI’s bigwigs for a mutual understanding. A PTI candidate contesting against him is not considered a strong figure for a neck and neck contest.
On the NAA-182 seat from Muzaffargarh, the PTI has picked Tehmina Dasti against Jamshed Dasti. Tehmina is not from this particular constituency to give a tough time to the former lawmaker elected to the National Assembly twice.
The PTI also did not give a ticket to the runner-up of previous Punjab Assembly elections, Abdul Hai from PP-270 and the ticket was awarded to Mehnaz Saeed. ARP candidate Ajmal Khan will contest against the PTI candidate from this constituency.
Political pundits termed it a sort of mutual understanding to avoid a controversy within the party in awarding tickets. They said that these independent candidates may support PTC chief Imran Khan if they win the polls in their respective constituencies.