The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday directed all candidates who had filed nomination papers for the Feb. 8 elections to retire in favor of the party’s nominated candidates or risk termination of their party membership.
“All those candidates who are claiming to belong to PTI and are actively campaigning against the party’s nominated candidates but do not have endorsement from the party are, hereby, instructed to retire their candidacy immediately in favor of the party’s nominees,” read a notification issued by PTI Secretary General Omar Ayub Khan.
“Those who do not do so will face immediate termination of their party membership,” it said. “The provincial and regional presidents have been instructed to take necessary action against those who are violating the party policy at this crucial time,” it added.
The PTI had earlier instructed multiple workers and leaders to submit nominations in each constituency to ensure at least one candidate would be eligible to contest the polls. However, this has had a negative impact with multiple candidates in most constituencies claiming to represent the PTI and campaigning as party founder Imran Khan’s picks. In a bid to apprise the public of the “true” candidates, the PTI has launched a portal for people to verify the nominees in their constituencies, as well as communicate their symbols as independent candidates. However, the website appears to be blocked in Pakistan, as it no longer accessible on most networks.
Meanwhile, the PTI has announced that, in line with the instructions of the party founder, it would formally launch its election campaign on Sunday. In this regard, all candidates have been instructed to lead “peaceful” rallies in their constituencies and muster momentum for the polls.