Pervez Khattak claims PTI-backed candidates to support him in Feb 8 polls

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Raising many eyebrows ahead of the February 8 general polls, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-Parliamentarians (PTI-P) Chairman Pervez Khattak has claimed to win the silent support of all independent candidates from his former party led by incarcerated premier Imran Khan.

Once believed to be one of the close aides of disqualified premier Khan during his tenure, the former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) chief minister, in his address to an election rally in Nowshera’s Rashakai town on Monday, said that the “PTI-backed candidates are standing with him” as their party does not exist these days.

Khattak censured Khan, saying: “PTI founder is a selfish man who hates political individuals and deceives the common people.”

Further slamming the ex-prime minister, the politico alleged that Khan was a “dishonest man” and his all vows with the nation were fake which led him to leave the former party.

Khattak will contest for NA-33 and PK-88 from his native district Nowshera, where he had been elected to the National Assembly and provincial assembly on the PTI tickets twice.

Khattak was believed to be one of the close aides of the incarcerated former premier Khan and held key portfolios of the former party’s provincial secretary general, KP chief ministership and was later, elevated to the Centre as defence minister during the PTI tenure.

However, he left the party’s provincial presidency after the May 9 mayhem, whereas, the PTI claimed to sack him over his failure to respond to a show-cause notice.

The disqualified prime minister’s ex-aide Khattak then formed a breakaway faction, PTI-Parliamentarians, days after being thrown out of PTI in July last year.

The new PTI faction was joined by a large number of former PTI loyalists including ex-KP chief minister Mahmood Khan and ex-lawmakers Shaukat Ali and Syed Muhammad Ishtiaq Urmar.

The Imran-led party has also faced major setbacks after its top leadership including its founder and vice chairman faced a plethora of cases for corruption and the May 9 riots. Moreover, it also lost its legal battle to keep its iconic “bat” symbol in the Supreme Court earlier in the month.

The party has further loosened its grip on its strongholds in an exodus as several top leaders and loyalists chose to exit and formed separate parties before entering the nationwide electoral battlefield — scheduled for February 8.

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