Threatened by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in North Punjab, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has decided to induct Lt General (retd) Abdul Qayyum immediately, assuring him of one ticket out of two constituencies in the Chakwal district, sources privy to the development told The Express Tribune.
According to a PML-N official, Sharif and Qayyum are set to hold a joint press conference to announce his membership on Friday at Punjab House in Islamabad. Qayyum’s induction was forced by the PTI threat in North Punjab, particularly Chakwal, sources added.
The two seats in Chakwal district NA-60 and NA-61 are occupied by PML-N MNAs Ayaz Amir and Sardar Mumtaz Khan Tamman, respectively. In addition to the PTI challenge, PML-N has also been disappointed by both the MNAs’ performance, particulary Tamman, further expediting Qayyum’s case.
PTI has recruited a number of heavyweight politicians from this district, including former PML-N MNA for NA -61 Faiz Tamman who might give opponents a tough time for this seat.
Reports suggest Ayaz Amir had wanted to join PTI as well, but refrained from the move since the party recruited his opponent from the NA-60 constituency.
PML-N’s MNA Mumtaz Tamman is a weaker candidate compared to its second MNA from Chakwal, Ayaz Amir. However joint candidate for the Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, Mansoor Hayat Tamman, and PTI’s Faiz Tamman are both strong contenders, capable of ruining PML-N’s chances in Chakwal in the upcoming elections.
Party sources say that Qayyum will be awarded a ticket from either of the two seats. Although he belongs to Ayaz Amir’s NA-60 constituency, the party may be forced to use him as a candidate for NA-61 due to poor showing by Mumtaz Tamman.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Qayyum claimed that his experience in working for two corporations and on many other issues forced Sharif to invite him. He admitted to being impressed with Sharif’s vision as well.
Qayyum besides having a decade’s worth experience in the Pakistan Army has also served as chairman for Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM). He was a close ally of former president Pervez Musharraf but resigned from his last responsibility as PSM chairman over the issue of its privatisation.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2012.