LAHORE: PTI Chairman Imran Khan yesterday launched electioneering for his candidates of by-elections in NA-122, NA-154 and PP-147. “No order of the Supreme Court bars me from running the by-election campaign as I am not PM, CM or minister. I have no development funds at my disposal,” he told the media at his party secretariat. He said he decided to run the campaigns himself after consulting legal experts.

His top legal aide Hamid Khan told The Nation that Imran “does not fall in the category of public office holders list that bar him from running an election campaign. “I have advised the party chairman that he can do so,” Hamid added. Imran demanded deployment of the army inside and outside the polling stations in Lahore and Lodhran for supervising by-polls as the government was using police to man the by-elections.

“CIA SP Umer Virk and DSP Riaz Shah are running the by-poll campaign for the ruling party candidates,” he alleged, adding that that Virk had hurled threats at Ghaffar Gujjar. Ghaffar a PTI candidate for LG polls, was shot dead in Lahore a couple of days ago. Imran also shared grief with the bereaved family of the deceased and vowed to fight for justice.

He said he would write to the Election Commission and Inspector General of Police for action against these police officers. The names of officials running PML-N's campaign would be posted online, he said and threaten to move court over the issue. He also announced holding inquiry in to unopposed election of Khwaja Hassan of PML-N.

He said: “The rulers have failed to empower the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) that led increased role of army in operation cleanup. Empowering NAB is a must to curtail the increasing influence of army.” He said all the opposition parties expressed mistrust over member of ECP from Punjab Riaz but he was still holding the office. The party would hold a big public meeting on October 4 in front of Election Commission Office.

The PTI chief claimed the Kissan Package was part of government’s pre-poll rigging and the Election Commission should take notice of this issue.

Imran said he party would unveil the facts about corrupt practices of the rulers in Nandipur Power project, Quaid-i-Azam Solar Park and LNG project during the by-polls drive. “I will tell the masses how the cost of Nandipur project exceeded.”

Responding to a query, he said the decisions in the election appeals of Malik Karamat Khokhar and Hamid Zaman were about to come but the government replaced the judges of tribunals fearing the same fate it faced in NA-122, 154 and PP-147. When the efforts by the PTI and PML-N for wining NA-122, Khan took into his wings the latter’s leader Ajasam Sharif – a development, political pundits predict, points to as in the favour of PTI. Imran said only the Pak Army has the capability to counter the deadly terror attacks.