­ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf on Monday changed its election campaign schedule and it has decided to hold its final public rally in Lahore instead of Islamabad as announced earlier.

The PTI had earlier decided to conclude its campaign in Islamabad on July 23, the last date of election campaign, and was planning to hold a big rally at the Parade Ground in the federal capital.

However, a meeting chaired by PTI chief Imran Khan here on Monday decided that the party would now hold a ‘big’ rally in Islamabad on July 21 followed by a rally in Karachi on July 22 and final public rallies in Lahore on July 23. PTI leaders Asad Umar, Aown Chaudhry, Senator Faisal Javed, Zulfi Bukhari and Iftikhar Durrani also attended the meeting.

PTI central media department head Iftikhar Durrani told The Nation that the PTI would hold four gatherings in four different constituencies of Lahore on July 23, one in the constituency from where Khan is contesting the election and another would be held in the constituency from where PTI candidate Aleem Khan is contesting election. Similarly, another public gathering would be held in the constituency of Lahore from where PTI’s Dr Yasmeen Rashid is a candidate.

Responding to a question, he said that the campaign plan had been changed as most of the PTI leadership was of the view that campaign should end in Punjab, which remained a power base of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Iftikhar said the PTI was struggling to snatch Punjab from the hands of the PML-N and the province has the largest number of National Assembly seats as compared to other provinces.

Separately, President All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) Dr Muhammad Amjad on Monday withdrew in favour of PTI chief Imran Khan from NA-53 and PTI candidate Asad Umar from NA-54.

As the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has already issued the final list of the candidates, he had drawn his candidatures in his own capacity and the commission will print his name on the ballot papers for these two constituencies of Islamabad.

Dr Amjad, who now heads the APML — a party established by former military dictator Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf — announced his decision of withdrawing from the two National Assembly’s constituencies after a meeting with the PTI chief in Bani Gala. Asad Umar was also present. Dr Amjad has also withdrawn from NA-148 (Sahiwal) in favour of PTI candidate Malik Mohammad Yar Dhakoo, a statement issued by the PTI media department said.

Dr Amjad in a statement said that the APML was contesting elections throughout the country but for a bigger cause, he had decided to withdraw his candidature in favour of the PTI. “We will work with the PTI on common grounds of ideology,” he said. Amjad said the PTI ideologically was very close to APML chief patron Pervez Musharraf’s vision of development and prosperity of the masses. He said the APML would contest elections in other constituencies and added that he would continue his campaign from NA-1 (Chitral).




Earlier on Sunday, an independent candidate, Meva Khan, from NA-54 withdrew in favour of Asad Umar. He announced to withdraw in favour of Umar during a corner meeting in G-10 in Islamabad.

Sources in the PTI also confirmed that Israr Ahmed Abbasi, an independent candidate who is contesting election from NA-52, will also announce to withdraw in favour of PTI candidate Raja Khurram Nawaz at a press conference at the National Press Club.