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We, LUMS Law students, are addressing this petition to Mr. Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi, the Chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, as well as other members of the party’s Central Executive Committee. Dr. Yasmin Rashid, based in Lahore, is a veteran political worker and professional. This petition seeks to persuade the addressees of the merits of nominating Dr. Rashid as Chief Minister of the Punjab, will focus on her personal and political accomplishments, and will look to compare her favorably to other PTI CM-ship hopefuls and contenders, whose names are doing the rounds in political circles.

Dr. Yasmin Rashid has had a distinguished personal career as a gynecologist, including affiliations with some of the most prestigious gynecology departments in the public health sector. She has served as a dedicated teacher in institutions like Rawalpindi Medical College, Fatima Jinnah Medical College and King Edward Medical University. Her credentials and qualifications defy reproach. Beyond being a stellar educationist, Dr. Rashid has also admirably discharged her duty to her fellow doctors as the President of the Pakistan Medical Association, from 1998 to 2000, and as the President of the Association’s Lahore Chapter from 2008 to 2010. Possessing vast administrative experience, Dr. Rashid is expected to perform any and all jobs assigned to her in the future political set-up with utmost sincerity and dedication.

As a political figure, Dr. Yasmin Rashid has earned plaudits and respect for the dignified manner in which she conducted her political campaign in the 2013 and 2018 general elections. Her political opponents are cognizant of her contribution to the democratic process, and her fearless approach towards formidable opponents, such as Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in 2013. While the almost-universal favorite in her most recent electoral adventure, Dr. Rashid has shown grace and dignity in handling defeat in the 2018 general elections . Her perseverance in the face of political adversity is undeniable, and her largely scandal-free political past endows on her a moral legitimacy that is rarely observable in politicians in today’s day and age. Furthermore, her commitment to the party is unquestionable and she remains free of any baggage that comes with frequent political flip-flopping and opportunism. Dr. Rashid’s stature as a politician is likely to enhance the respect of any office she holds, and I am highly confident in her ability to bring an element of relatability to one of the most powerful political positions in this country.

While Mr. Abdul-Aleem Khan and Mr. Fawad Chaudhry have fought their political campaigns with vigor and commitment, and have also contributed greatly to the administrative cohesion and recent political success of the PTI, their hefty personal and political baggage cannot be discounted. Mr. Khan is a subject of a National Accountability Bureau investigation, and in case his involvement in financial corruption and malfeasance is proven, his holding of such an important office would mire it in scandal and harm the credibility of the party’s anti-corruption agenda. Mr. Khan’s perception as a wealthy businessman who invests heavily in political campaigning has given rise to fears that he might use power to buttress his personal business interests. Furthermore, Mr. Khan is strongly associated with Mr. Jahangir Tareen, a controversial figure in the PTI who has been declared “dishonest” and “untruthful” by the highest court of the land. It has been alleged that Mr. Khan, in his capacity, as President of the PTI’s Central Punjab region and a member of the PTI’s central parliamentary board, handled the issuance of party tickets irresponsibly and favored people who were closely aligned to him. While these allegations are yet to be proven, they have contributed to the perception of Mr. Aleem Khan as a “crooked politician”. In contrast, Dr. Rashid’s grass roots credibility, her tenure as the party’s general secretary as well as her political perception do not suffer from the same optical shortcomings.

Similarly, Mr. Fawad Chaudhry is a recent entrant in the PTI, and has often been accused of political opportunism. His commitment to the party, while without doubt, pales in comparison to the years of struggle carried out by Dr. Rashid. Mr. Chaudhry is frequently subjected to criticisms of crassness and improper behavior, and it is unlikely that he possesses the conciliatory ability to take all stakeholders into confidence on issues of policy and governance. Secondarily, Mr. Chaudhry is also the kind of aggressive social media presence that has come into the line of fire for discourteous. This is in sharp contrast to the humble and composed Dr. Rashid, who handles criticism with grace and a characteristic smile that wins the hearts of many who engage with her.

Dr. Yasmin Rashid is expected to enter the Punjab assembly through the reserved seat quota of the PTI. She is a capable woman, who has fought hard to be where she is today, and whose relentless commitment to her beliefs and causes is unquestionable. While PTI has often been harshly criticized for not doing enough for marginalized groups, and rightfully so, making Dr. Rashid the CM would restore some of the party’s lost credibility in this regard. Keeping in mind the commitments made in Chairman Khan’s victory speech, Dr. Rashid’s nomination would boost the nation’s confidence in him and allow thousands of women to be concurrently inspired to join a field that sorely requires their presence. For too long have capable women been excluded from the halls of power, and to correct this travesty of justice, Dr. Yasmin Rashid is an ideal candidate. Her nomination is likely to be welcomed from most, if not all circles, and if Naya Pakistan is to be premised on the vision of national unity, this is an ideal step to take.

Chairman Khan, this is a golden opportunity for the party to increase its electoral presence in the Punjab by having a qualified and dynamic figure running the province. I implore you to not let this opportunity pass you by.

(Written by Hafiz Usman)