The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has hinted that neither Nawaz Sharif nor Shahbaz Sharif would contest the forthcoming elections against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan from Lahore.
According to sources, the party’s senior leadership, during a meeting of its parliamentary board, strongly advised the Sharif brothers against contesting elections from constituencies where Imran Khan would be standing.
Out of 13 National Assembly seats in Lahore, the PML-N has advised Nawaz to contest from NA 120. The party’s central board will soon decide on whom to field against the PTI chairman, who is contemplating running for NA-126 Lahore.
On the other hand, the party has advised Shahbaz to contest election from various cities across the province. However, Nawaz will take a final decision in this regard.
Differences within boards
The PML-N’s Central Parliamentary Board and the provincial boards of Balochistan and Sindh are divided over awarding tickets to poll aspirants, while the provincial boards of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa have amicably resolved their issues.
The party leadership failed to finalise candidates in Balochistan for 14 National Assembly seats due to differences within the party’s provincial board. According to sources, one group is led by PML-N Balochsitan President Sardar Sanaullah Khan Zehri and Nawab Lashkari Raisani, while the other is led by Nawabzada Changez Khan Marri and Mir Liaquat Jamali.
The Marri group – which consists of long-time party members – has alleged that PML-N is trying to please the Sardars and willing to award tickets to their nominees. The Zehri-Raisani group is considered a ‘rich’ group, which has attained clout in the party by donating millions to the party fund.
Sources said that Nawaz has already taken a decision regarding candidates in Balochistan, but is waiting to heal the intra-party rift before making a formal announcement.
Sources said that while there is a division in Sindh also, it is less intense compared to Balochistan.
Once again, Nawaz has already made a decision regarding Sindh’s candidates but an announcement in this regard is yet to be made.
According to unofficial details, Zain Ansar will run for NA 257 seat, Marvi Memon for NA 237, Liaquat Jatoi from Dadu, Elahi Bukhs Soomro from Jaccobabad, Zafar Ali Shah from Naushero Feroz, Ghous Ali Shah from Khairpur, Amir Buksh Bhutto from Shahdad Kot and Sher Muhammad Rind from Nawabshah.
According to sources, PTI senior leader Sikandar Bosan is in talks with the PML-N, so the party has reserved NA 151 for him. Furthermore, unofficial details suggest that Ghaffar Dogar will run for NA 148 and Tariq Rashid and Rana Mehmood for NA 149 and NA 150, respectively.
In Lahore, Riaz Malik will run for NA 118, Hamza Shahbaz Sharif for NA 119, and Nawaz Sharif for NA 120.
PML-Likeminded General Secretary Humayoun Akhtar Khan has been awarded a ticket for NA 79 Faisalabad.
Meanwhile, the PML-N has finalised its candidates for both National and provincial assembly in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
The provincial parliamentary board had earlier conducted interviews of potential candidates for both NA and provincial assembly seats on March 24 and 26 respectively and had conveyed its decision to the central parliamentary board of the party the same day.
Candidates for NA 26 Bannu and NA 32 Chitral are yet to be finalised.
Those who will contest the general elections from the party platform for 35 National Assembly in K-P include Iqbal Zafar Jhagra from NA3 Peshawar III and Umer Ayub Khan from NA 19, Haripur.
With additional reporting from Abdur Rauf in Peshawar.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2013.
Correction: Earlier version of the story incorrectly stated Mir Liaquat Jamali’s name as Mehar Liaquat Jamali. It has been fixed.