Setback for PTI as Saifaullah Abro withdraws from NA-194 in Bilawal’s favour


ISLAMABAD: In another setback for the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), its candidate from NA-194 (Larkana 1) Saifullah Abro Friday announced his decision to “withdraw” in Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s favour ahead of the upcoming February 8 polls.

Taking to social media platform X, Abro confirmed the development saying that he has decided to withdraw from the said constituency after meeting the PPP chairman on Thursday.

The said constituency is arguably a stronghold of the PPP, as Bilawal bagged a win in the 2018 elections as well, and Abro’s withdrawal is likely to further strengthen Bilawal’s position there.

Meanwhile, reacting to Abro’s withdrawal, the PTI has issued a show-cause notice to the senator seeking a written reply from him within three days for violating the party’s policy and showing “grave indiscipline”.

The development comes as political parties have ramped up their efforts to woo voters as well as independent candidates and those of rival political parties to strengthen their electoral positioning and standing across various constituencies.

Abro’s, a PTI senator, move comes as Bilawal has been calling PTI and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) voters to vote for his party stressing that the upcoming general elections are between the arrow and lion, electoral symbols of the PPP and the PML-N, respectively — as PTI candidates are contesting the polls in independent capacity after the party lost its “bat” symbol.

“Grateful to PTI ticket holder NA194 Senator Abro for his support. PTI workers across the county are beginning to understand that the only way to stop PMLN is to vote for PPPs arrow on February 8,” the PPP stalwart said in a social media post.

This is the second time in the ongoing month that a PTI candidate withdrew in support of a rival political party as last week its candidate from Lahore’s NA-119 Mehr Muhammad Waseem withdrew in favour of PML-N Senior Vice-President Maryam Nawaz.

The PTI ticket holder met Maryam and announced to withdraw in her favour besides announcing to join PML-N along with his supporters.

However, the Nawaz Sharif-led party not only succeeded in wooing PTI leaders, but also managed to inflict a blow to the PPP after its local officer bearers including the chairman, vice chairman, and zakat committee’s head along with loyalists joined the PML-N’s ranks.

Both PPP and PML-N have been striving to gain political grounds in Punjab, especially Lahore, which has become the battleground for upcoming polls.

Political bigwigs contesting the polls from Lahore include Istehkam Pakistan Party’s (IPP) Abdul Aleem Khan, PML-N supremo Nawaz, along with senior leaders including Maryam Nawaz, Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza Shehbaz, Attah Ullah Tarrar, PTI’s Salman Akram Raja, Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) Liaqat Baloch and others.