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Pakistan's PTI party candidates were picked with little input : Imran Khan

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NewsDrum Desk
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Islamabad, Jan 14 (PTI) Pakistan's jailed ex-premier Imran Khan has said that his party candidates for the February 8 elections were picked with his “little input” and he was largely unaware of ticket distribution among them.

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Khan made these remarks on Saturday after attending court proceedings in the Toshakhana corruption case, according to a report by the Dawn newspaper.

Before the court proceedings began, about two dozen PTI workers and candidates of different constituencies complained to 71-year-old Khan about being denied party tickets.

“He told them that the tickets were awarded with his little input and that he was unaware of their distribution. He explained to them that it was not possible for him to make a quick decision on the award of 850 tickets in a brief discussion with party leaders,” the paper reported.

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Khan also again accused his rival Nawaz Sharif of playing the match “with the umpires of choice”.

He said that a certified money launderer returned to Pakistan under the London Plan and was given a safe passage as the courts allegedly appeared to be lenient with his opponents.

In response to a question, if he was ready to hold dialogue with certain quarters, the former premier replied that he had been given the option for dialogue 18 months ago, but he had no idea of holding talks “with whom” and “for what”.

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“The only issue left for discussion is conducting free and fair elections,” he added.

He expressed concerns over the resignation of two senior judges of the Supreme Court.

He believed all attempts being made against PTI’s election symbol of “bat” were aimed at debilitating the party before elections, but it will fight till the last ball no matter what happens.

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Khan's remarks came ahead of a decision of the Supreme Court on Saturday that declared null and void the intra-party polls of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and deprived the party of the 'bat' as election symbol, forcing the party to announce that its nominees would contest as independent candidates.

Regarding the article recently published in The Economist, Khan said he had verbally dictated that article to his lawyers and asked them to get more information from his previously recorded interviews.

Sources said the jail administration had intercepted some hand-written notes of Khan that his lawyers were taking out from jail premises but then he took those back.

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The same was later produced before the judge, who asked lawyers to remove Khan’s signatures from the pages before returning those to them.

Meanwhile, during the Toshakhana case proceedings on Saturday, Judge Mohammad Bashir of the accountability court recorded the statements of four witnesses.

Eight witnesses have testified before the court so far. Further proceeding in this matter has been adjourned till January 15.

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Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi were indicted in the case on Tuesday which is about the alleged misappropriation of state gifts.

According to the case, the former prime minister and his wife received 108 gifts from various heads of state, out of which they kept 58 gifts. They were also undervalued by them while paying a mandatory price to the state.

The gifts included a jewellery set given from the Saudi Crown Prince which the couple retained at a low price instead of depositing it in the Toshakhana. PTI SH AMS NSA AMS

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