Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan will contest for all 33 seats in the upcoming National Assembly by-elections set to take place on March 16, the party has announced — becoming the first person in the country’s history to run for a sizeable number of seats.
In a press conference on Sunday after the party’s core committee in Lahore, PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi said: “Imran Khan will be PTI’s candidate for all constituencies that [are up for grabs].”
The move will likely pile pressure on the ruling coalition as if the PTI chief successfully wins a majority of the seats, it will dent the government’s popularity and give the Khan-led party an edge in the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa elections — expected to take place in the next three months.
The NA seats had fallen vacant earlier this month when NA Speaker Raja Parvez Ashraf accepted the resignations of PTI lawmakers and Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid.
The PTI resigned en masse in April last year after the ouster of Khan as the prime minister, but only 11 resignations were accepted in July. Later, as the party tried to stage a comeback to the house, the speaker began accepting their resignations — and in a couple of days, he accepted 113 more, including the 33.
In October last year, the former prime minister also set a record when he won six NA seats for the PTI in a by-election that was seen as a direct contest between the former ruling party and the current ruling coalition of the PDM parties, which also grabbed two seats.
More to follow…