LAHORE, March 6: Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan is going to plead PPP leader Aslam Gill in the Supreme Court against Mohsin Leghari’s victory in the Senate elections as an ‘independent’ candidate.
The PPP leadership has asked Mr Ahsan to prepare the case which is going to be filed in a day or two.
“I am filing an appeal with the apex court against the controversial win of Sardar Mohsin Leghari through Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan,” Aslam Gill told Dawn on Tuesday.
He said the nomination papers of Mr Leghari were rejected on the ground that he had no endorsement from his party (PML-Q) head but later he (Leghari) was allowed to contest the Senate polls in independent status that led to worst horse-trading. “My appeal is primarily based on these points,” he added.
In a related development, the PPP government has sought the help of an intelligence agency to ‘trace’ its six or seven MPAs, who had voted for Mr Leghari.
Interestingly, President Zardari’s sister Faryal Talpur had reportedly ignored a report from a senior party member a couple of days before the Senate polls that four of its members from southern Punjab had been in contact with the PML-N leadership. The Sharifs had promised them PML-N tickets for the next general elections and the Punjab government had also released development funds for their constituencies, the report had said.
“Ms Talpur did not take the matter seriously,” a PPP insider said, adding had the leadership devised a strategy in the face of possible defections, Mr Gill might have been elected to the upper house of Parliament,” the source said.
The four PPP MPAs who supposedly defected – Nishat Ahmed Daha, Muhamamd Jamil Shah, Abbas Zafar Hiraj and Rana Babar Hussain – are from Khanewal district.
“They all got funds from the PML-N government and even one of them (Rana Babar) named a road after the late PML-N leader, Ghulam Haider Wyen, in Mian Channu and the PPP bigwigs did not bother to notice this development and at the end of the day, they sacrificed a worker (Gill),” the source said.
A circle of PPP MPAs is also suspecting Sajida Mir, Rehana Rizvi and Samina Navid for having their association with Nahid Khan’s group, considered to be anti-Zardari.
However, the party workers have called the move a ‘malicious campaign’ to save the ‘real culprits’.
PPP activist Abdul Qadir Shaheen has criticised the PPP Punjab parliamentary leaders for finding ‘scapegoats’ to pass on the buck.
“MPA Samina Navid is a party loyalist and had voted for Mr Gill but some elements in the PPP are trying to establish otherwise,” Shaheen said who is brother-in-law of Ms Navid.
“We want the leadership to expose the traitors and take action against them for betraying a party worker in the election,” he said.
Mr Shaheen further said that an active PPP leader in Lahore who had applied for the Senate ticket had also played a role in the defeat of Mr Gill by offering ‘plots and land’ to some party MPAs because he had a grudge against him (Gill). Ms Mir told Dawn that it was unfortunate that some people were misleading the leadership about her and two other women MPAs. “I am a diehard PPP worker and will never betray it till my last breath,” she said emotionally. Ms Mir had broken into tears after hearing news of Gill’s defeat.
“The loyalty with the party of those who are suspecting us should be checked instead,” she demanded.
MPA Jamil Shah said he would talk on the matter later as he was in a meeting while the other three MPAs were not available for a comment.
As there has been a lot of criticism on opposition leader Raja Riaz Ahmad among party cadres for devising a poor strategy that eventually led to Mr Gill’s unexpected defeat, it is likely that Raja may lose his position to a former opposition leader and Pakistan Hockey Federation president Qasim Zia.