• Sun. Mar 12th, 2023

PTI Karachi divided over candidate for mayor

PTI MPA Khurram Sher Zaman and PTI leader Muhammad Ashraf Jabbar Qureshi. — Twitter/YouTube/Junaid Akram
PTI MPA Khurram Sher Zaman and PTI leader Muhammad Ashraf Jabbar Qureshi. — Twitter/YouTube/Junaid Akram
  • Ashraf Jabbar Qureshi warns not to participate in campaign if Khurram Sher Zaman is named.
  • Ali Haider Zaidi has sent letter to PTI board with both names.
  • Local body elections are scheduled to be held on January 15, 2023.

KARACHI: There seems to be a divide within the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) over its candidate for Karachi mayor with one hopeful warning the party of consequences if he is not considered for the slot, reported The News.

PTI Sindh President Ali Haider Zaidi sent a letter to the party’s central parliamentary board for nominating either Muhammad Ashraf Jabbar Qureshi or Khurram Sher Zaman as its candidate for Karachi mayor.

Zaman is currently the parliamentary party leader in the Sindh Assembly, while Qureshi is considered one of the founding members of the PTI. The latter, however, is unwilling to work with Zaman if he was nominated for the mayorship of Karachi.

On December 13, Zaidi in his letter also informed PTI Chairman Imran Khan that senior member Firdous Shamim Naqvi was withdrawing his nomination for the mayor’s candidature. Now the party has two hopefuls in the race — Qureshi and Zaman, the letter reads.

“If the party intends to look for more candidates, we will have to wait till the election to select one from the reserve seats of labour, women, minorities or youth,” said Zaidi.

The local body elections, after being delayed thrice, are now scheduled to be held on January 15, 2023.

Zaidi has requested the PTI’s board to decide at the earliest so that they could announce the final candidate and relaunch its electoral campaign for the polls. 

For the last two months, the party had been organising rallies and public gatherings in Karachi focusing on issues related to national-level politics. However, the party is yet to launch its election campaign for the local body elections.

Zaman confirmed The News that three names – his as well as those of Firdous Shamim Naqvi and Muhammad Ashraf Jabbar Qureshi — have been sent to the central parliamentary board.

“The party would decide the final name of the candidate, and what the party decides, I would happily accept it,” said the MPA.

Responding to a question, Zaman said he had been highlighting the issues being faced by the people of Karachi, and if he was elected mayor, he would work with other political parties to resolve the problems.

He, however, said he was also ready to support Qureshi.

“We are party colleagues. We have to work for winning the mayorship of Karachi. This is not right to fight within the party. All the differences can be settled after winning the LG polls,” he remarked.

Meanwhile, Qureshi told the publication that some people within the PTI wished to become prime minister instead of seeing Imran Khan in the seat, and they wanted to enjoy high positions while being associated with the PTI.

“One thing I want to make clear; if my name is dropped, the party would suffer huge losses in the upcoming local bodies elections in Karachi,” warned the PTI leader.

Qureshi said a group of opportunists had been imposed on the PTI, and they wanted to distract the party from the right path and were taking advantage of Khan’s engagement in national politics.

If Zaman’s name was finalised for the mayorship, the rival parties would use his name against the PTI by saying that he was not a local resident of Karachi.

He said the PTI would also lose its vote bank in Urdu-speaking neighbourhoods.

“I was assured by PTI Sindh President Ali Haider Zaidi that the party would nominate me as mayoral candidate. This is why I accepted the offer and started the campaign. Now it’s beyond understanding why Zaman is so interested in becoming mayoral candidate,” he said.

“I will absolutely not support any electioneering of the PTI in the upcoming local polls if my candidacy for the mayor of Karachi is not accepted,” warned Qureshi.

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