Hashmi withdraws from polls in support of PTI candidate

In a major development on the political landscape ahead of the general elections, veteran politician and former PML-N leader Javed Hashmi has announced his withdrawal from the polls and support for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s candidate from NA-149 Multan constituency.

The Election Commission had accepted Hashmi’s nomination papers for the upcoming general elections as an independent candidate from the NA-149 constituency.

Hashmi, who started his political career by joining the PML-N in 1985, served as the federal health minister and youth affairs minister during the tenures of Nawaz Sharif.

In 2010, Hashmi suffered from brain haemorrhage, which left his left arm paralysed. After recovering, he served as the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs but resigned after falling out with Nawaz on various political issues.

In 2011, Hashmi joined the PTI and was elected the party’s first president. In 2013 elections, Hashmi won from both constituencies – Islamabad and Multan.

However, in 2014, he fell out of favour after publicly opposing the party’s decision to hold mass protests against Nawaz for alleged rigging in the 2013 general elections.

He subsequently resigned from both the parties and parliament.

Read also: Does PTI’s exit mean walkover for PML-N in polls?

In 2018, Hashmi, along with his daughter, met Nawaz and announced rejoining the PML-N.

Talking to the media here on Monday, Hashmi said, “I am announcing my withdrawal as a candidate from the general elections on February 8 and joining the PTI fold with all my strength.”

He said that whoever stood in the first row, he would provide him “full political and moral support”.

Hashmi announced that he was not boycotting the elections, adding that now “I will ask for votes not for myself but for the PTI candidate”.

He said that now instead of asking for votes, he would raise his voice.

Last month, Hashmi declared his support for Imran Khan and his party, the PTI.

Hashmi voiced his allegiance, saying: “Whoever is wronged, I will stand by them.”

Read: PTI NA-119 candidate withdraws in Maryam’s favour

Emphasising the role of leaders in governance, he stressed the importance of abiding by the guidance provided by those who were instrumental in achieving power.

“Our rulers need to heed to the voices of the people,” he added, highlighting the significance of his constituency, NA 149.

Reflecting on past elections, particularly his unopposed National Assembly membership in 2018, Hashmi criticised the election process, labelling it a mockery of fair elections.

Despite these concerns, he affirmed his participation, emphasising his commitment to the democratic process.

“I’m not a revolutionary seeking change through violence. I believe in the power of votes over bullets,” he stated, underscoring his faith in the electorate’s role.

Addressing the challenges faced by the country’s largest political party and the incarcerations of its leaders and workers, Hashmi raised concerns about the perceived hindrances in their electoral participation.

Despite acknowledging the uphill struggle and resource disparities, he asserted: “I’m not in competition; I stand with the blessings of the people in NA 149.”

(With input from news desk)

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