PTI candidate did not withdraw for Maryam Nawaz
Major news outlets falsely report that a PTI member and election candidate has withdrawn from NA-119 in favour of Maryam Nawaz
Claim: A Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate Mehr Muhammad Waseem withdrew from Lahore’s NA-119 in favour of PML-N’s Maryam Nawaz.
Fact: PTI’s candidate for Maryam Nawaz’s constituency was not Mehr Muhammad Waseem.
On 21 January 2024, Geo News and Express Tribune, published articles titled “’Breakthrough’ for PML-N as PTI candidate withdraws in favour of Maryam Nawaz”, and “PTI NA-119 candidate withdraws in Maryam’s favour”, respectively. On 22 January 2024, Business Recorder also published a similar article, headlined “NA 119: PTI ticket-holder withdraws in favour of Maryam”.
These articles claim that a PTI candidate, Mehr Muhammad Waseem, who was scheduled to run against PML-N’s Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz, withdrew and defected to the PML-N on 21 January 2024.
Geo News, in particular, claimed that Waseem announced that he is joining the PML-N and that his announcement was attended by PML-N’s central leaders “including Senator Pervaiz Rasheed, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Ali Pervaiz Malik, Khawaja Imran Nazir, and others.”
The announcement shared on PML-N’s official account on X also claims that the PTI candidate withdrew from NA-119 in favour of PML-N. The post further corroborates the report by Geo News, adding that PTI’s Mehr Waseem has joined PML-N along with “thousands of his workers”.
The X post and all three news articles claimed that Waseem will make an official announcement on joining the PML-N, on 25 January 2024.
Fact or Fiction?
PTI’s official list of candidates for the Punjab Assembly was uploaded by Insaf.PK, their official website here, on 21 January 2024. According to his list, 5 candidates have “Mehar” as a first name, and none of them are named Mehar Muhammad Waseem or Mehar Waseem. Three search results appeared with the name “Mehr” – Mehr Mohammad Javed (PP-186), Mehr Abdul Sattar (PP-191) and Mehr Moeenuddin Chishti (PP-195).
On 12 January 2024, PTI’s official X account shared a tweet with a link to a document uploaded on scribd.com. However, the link is not working anymore. This 13 January 2024 article from Geo News also shares a version of PTI’s candidates list for the National Assembly, but the NA-119 candidate was still pending.
SAMAA News published PTI’s complete candidate list for the National Assembly on their website for the general elections 2024 on 18 January 2024. According to this list, the PTI candidate contesting from NA-119, the same constituency that Maryam Nawaz (PML-N) is contesting from, is Shahzad Farooq and not Mehr Waseem. The article “PTI issues final list of MNA candidates from Lahore” from Pakistan Today, published on 18 January 2024, also cites “Shahzad Farooq from NA-119”, as the PTI candidate from the same constituency as Maryam Nawaz. On the same date, GNN HD also published an article citing the same list.
In fact, the name “Waseem” does not appear as a first or last name for any of the candidates mentioned on this list. Four candidates have the name “Mehar” as their first name: Mehar Khalid (NA-94), Mehar Bano Qureshi (NA-151), Mehar Sajjad Cheena (NA-186), and Mehar u Nisa Baloch (NA-215). And no names appeared with the spelling “Mehr”.
PTI’s candidate for NA-119 is Shahzad Farooq, according to their published list of candidates. And their candidate for NA-120 is Usman Hamza Awan.
Published on 24 December 2023, this article from The News mentions that Maryam Nawaz filed nomination papers for two National Assembly seats – NA-119 and NA-120. This article from Dunya News, published on 14 January 2024, also lists Maryam Nawaz contesting from the aforementioned constituencies.
In addition, we interacted with Imran Khan’s official Facebook profile chatbot, which was created by the party to circumvent confusion caused after their electoral symbol was taken away. The chat allows users to send a constituency number and the bot confirms the name and symbol of the candidate contesting from that constituency. Soch Fact Check sent a message saying “Na-119” on 23 January 2024, and the bot responded:
”Halqa: NA-119, Lahore-lll
Candidate: Shahzad Farooq
Symbol: TRICYCLEٹرائی سائیکل”
We also did not find any announcements or news articles of PTI announcing “Mehar” or “Mehr” Waseem as a candidate for the 2024 elections.
This proves that Mehar Waseem was not contesting as the PTI candidate from NA-119 or NA-120, and therefore could not have withdrawn in favour of Maryam Nawaz, especially over NA-119.
The post on X received more than 416,900 views.
Conclusion: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s(PTI) candidate Mehr Waseem could not have withdrawn in favour of Maryam Nawaz as he was not the party’s candidate for the same constituency as Nawaz. In the list of tickets awarded to contest the elections for the National Assembly, PTI has listed Khawaja Shahzad Farooq for NA-119, and Usman Hamza Awan for NA-120, both of which are also Maryam Nawaz’s constituencies.
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