In a change of strategy, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Friday decided against contesting by-elections on all 33 National Assembly (NA) seats, Aaj News reported.
Instead, the party will be fielding different candidates for each seat in a bid to return to the National Assembly.
The 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.
PTI members resigned en masse in April last year after the ouster of Imran as 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. In a couple of days, he had accepted 113 in addition to the 33 seats.
The development comes days after the party’s vice-chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi announced that Imran Khan will contest elections on all 33 seats.
“It was decided that Imran Khan will be contesting elections in all 33 NA seats,” Qureshi said last week, adding that their former MNAs from respective constituencies will file nomination papers as “covering candidates.”
Earlier, there were reports of discussion within the party that even if Imran succeeded in winning all the by-elections, the party’s return to the NA would not be possible.
The party leaders argued that it was necessary to field candidates in the constituencies for returning to the legislature.
PTI is seeking a return to the National Assembly in order to reclaim the position of the opposition leader and to prevent the government from forming a caretaker setup on its own accord.
The by-polls will be held on March 16.
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