Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s nomination papers to contest the by-elections for the NA-108 (Faisalabad) constituency were rejected by the returning officer on Wednesday, with the party vowing to challenge the decision.
The PTI resigned en masse from the National Assembly after the incumbent government assumed power in April. However, the resignations of only 11 lawmakers—nine elected and two reserved seats—have been accepted by Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf thus far. Following the acceptance of the resignations, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has announced by-elections in these constituencies for Sept. 25.
Khan, earlier this month, announced he would contest all nine seats personally, a development that has raised some eyebrows, as the ousted prime minister would only be able to retain one seat and if he wins more, they would have to once again proceed to by-elections.
The PTI, this week, submitted Khan’s nomination papers for all nine constituencies—NA-22 (Mardan), NA-24 (Charsadda), NA-31 (Peshawar), NA-45 (Kurram), NA-108 (Faisalabad), NA-118 (Nankana Sahib), NA-237 (Malir), NA-239 (Korangi-Karachi) and NA-246 (Karachi South)—with his papers being accepted in eight constituencies and rejected in one.
According to the district election commissioner for NA-108, the former prime minister was unable to clarify objections related to his assets, thereby resulting in his nomination being rejected. The nomination papers of his covering candidate, PTI spokesman Farrukh Habib, were accepted.
In a statement, Habib slammed the rejection, saying there was no justification for it. Stressing that the same papers were submitted in all nine constituencies, he questioned how they could be rejected in one and accepted in eight. “We will not trust this returning officer in future,” he said, adding the PTI would challenge the returning officer’s decision through a formal appeal.
PTI workers also protested in front of the ECP’s office after the decision was announced.