Following a dismal performance by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Punjab chapter during its long march towards Islamabad last month, PTI Chairman Imran Khan has made some changes in the provincial organizational chapter of the party.
The PTI Punjab leadership of the PTI had miserably failed to mobilize workers for the long march and only a few hundred could manage to reach Islamabad.
Lahore, the provincial capital, witnessed a poor power show on the day of the long march as only a few dozen workers managed to cross the Ravi bridge – the last exit point of the city.
MNA Shafqat Mehmood, the then president of PTI Punjab chapter, faced wrath of many party leaders for failing to mobilize the workers. The poor performance of Shafqat can be gauged by the fact that he was nowhere to be seen on the day of the long march when police stopped him from proceeding towards the Ravi Bridge.
“The PTI has three MNAs and seven MPAs from Lahore but the leadership didn’t show any resistance against police brutality,” said a PTI worker from Lahore.
“The change in Punjab’s set-up was imminent after dismal performance of Shafqat and General Secretary Raja Yasir Humayun,” said the PTI worker, who belongs from the old city.
On Saturday, a notification was issued by PTI Secretary General Asad Umar in which Dr. Yasmin Rashid has been given the responsibility of central Punjab president. Moreover, MNA Hammad Azhar will be the new central Punjab general secretary.
The notification says that Amir Kayani will be the president of the north region while Aun Abbas will head the south region.
Earlier, Shafqat had resigned from his office citing “health issues”.
Dr. Yasmin and Hammad Azhar had showed some resistance against the force used by police to stop PTI’s long march.
Yasmin’s vehicle was damaged by the police when she wanted to cross the Ravi bridge. Later, she was detained briefly.
Similarly, Hammad Azhar also showed resistance against the police force at the Ravi bridge but he managed to cross Lahore that day with a handful of young workers. Later, he was stopped near Muridke when he faced heavy shelling of tear gas. Earlier, his name was also being considered for the slot of Lahore’s mayor.
Yasmin hails from a political family as his father-in-law remained associated with the PPP. She had earned much respect in Lahore as a distinguished professor of gynecology.
She rose to fame in the political arena during 2013 elections when she ran a rigorous campaign against former prime minister and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif. She had managed to grab more than 50,000 votes against Nawaz Sharif from Lahore. The latter got over 90,000 votes.
After his disqualification, by-election was held in the constituency and Yasmin was once again fielded by her party against Kulsoom Nawaz. She took over 47,000 votes against Kulsoom Nawaz, who got more than 61,000 votes.
In 2018 general elections, Yasmin was once again the PTI’s candidate from the constituency and she got 105,000 votes against PML-N’s Waheed Alam Khan, who clinched the seat by getting over 122,000 votes.
Yasmin lost the elections but she was made MPA on a reserved seat and later she was nominated as the health minister of Punjab – the post she held for over three years.
Moreover, Hammad Azhar hails from a political family as his father Mian Azhar was the president of the PML-Q while he had also served as Punjab governor. Hammad contested in 2018 from Lahore and became MNA by grabbing 105,000 votes. He defeated PML-N’s Mehar Ishtiaq with a margin of 3,000 votes.