Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) senior leadership held a meeting on Tuesday with party office bearers from Gujranwala division and gave the go-ahead to 10 candidates to contest the National Assembly seats out of a total 23 seats allotted to the division.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and co-Chairman, President Asif Ali Zardari presided over the meeting at Bilawal House in Lahore.
It was decided that PPP will contest the 10 seats, while the remaining will most likely be left for Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) candidates. Participants of the meeting told The Express Tribune that Zardari has made it clear that those seats which PPP won in the last elections, including the controversial NA-105 Gujrat constituency will be contested by its candidates.
Sources said that PPP office bearers urged Zardari to end its alliance with PML-Q but he rejected that, saying that it was important to have an alliance for the coming elections.
They added that those seats which were won by either PPP or PML-Q in the last elections will be left to contest for each others’ candidates and those seats which are occupied by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz will be decided jointly by PPP and PML-Q on which of their candidates will contest them.
NA-105 Gujrat is currently occupied by PPP’s Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar, while PML-Q’s Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi is in talks with PPP to let him contest it.
But the participants of the meeting said Zardari has assured PPP candidates belonging to Gujranwala division, including Mukhtar that PPP will not give in to Elahi’s request.
PPP has proposed four seats to be contested by its candidates. PPP MPA Tariq Gujjar from NA-96, MNA Imtiaz Safder Warraich from NA-98, MPA Zulfiqar Bhinder from NA-99 and MNA Tassadaq Masud Khan from NA-100 will contest them. PML-Q MPA Ajid Chatha will contest the NA-101 seat.
Two seats of Hafizabad district have been left for PML-Q.
Out of the four seats of Gujrat, Mukhtar will contest NA-105 and Qamar Zaman Kaira will contest NA-106 on the PPP ticket.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 13th, 2013.