Senior Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday said that his party had decided to contest in by-elections on 33 National Assembly seats in March and former prime minister Imran Khan would be their candidate in all constituencies.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had announced on Friday that by-polls on 33 NA seats would be held on March 16. The seats fell vacant after NA Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf accepted the resignations of PTI lawmakers.
The constituencies where by-elections will be held include: NA-04 Swat, NA-17 Haripur, NA-18 Swabi, NA-25 and NA-26 Nowshera, NA-32 Kohat, NA-38 Dera Ismail Khan, NA-43 Khyber, NA-52, 53, and NA-54 Islamabad, NA-57, 59, 60, 62 and NA-63 Rawalpindi, NA-67 Jhelum, NA-97 Bhakkar, NA-126 and NA-130 Lahore, NA-155 and NA-156 Multan, NA-191 Dera Ghazi Khan, NA-241, 242. 243, 244, 247, 250, 252, 254, and NA-256 Karachi and NA-265 Quetta.
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry had already announced earlier this month the party chief’s decision to contest by-elections on all vacant National Assembly seats.
“Tehreek-e-Insaf will contest elections on all the seats and Imran Khan will be the candidate of Tehreek-e-Insaf on these thirty-three seats,” Fawad had said in a statement on Twitter on Jan 17.
Qureshi made the announcement again today during a press conference in Islamabad flanked by PTI leader Asad Umar following a joint meeting of party’s core and parliamentary committees held under the chairmanship of Imran Khan.
“We have decided to participate in the by-elections and Imran Khan will contest from all seats,” the former foreign minister said, adding that PTI will not leave the political ground empty.
He said that people had also supported PTI during the July 17 by-polls, and the party hopes that the masses would once again express their confidence in Imran Khan on March 16 with their votes.
He said that ECP was mandated to hold elections within 90 days after seats become vacant, and it would be a violation of the constitution if they are not held on time.
The PTI leader said that they were not in contact with the establishment. “The President of Pakistan tried to mediate but did not succeed. He has a constitutional role to play and he’s doing that,” he added.
Talking about the meeting, Qureshi said that the committees reviewed the country’s political and economic situation. The meeting condemned the arrest of PTI leader Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, urging the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take notice.