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PML-N ready to sacrifice NA-48 to secure NA-49


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ISLAMABAD, April 23: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) seems ready to sacrifice its former legislator Anjum Aqeel Khan in order to secure the second National Assembly seat from Islamabad as it is still negotiating with the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) for a give-and-take in NA-48 and NA-49 constituencies, Dawn has learnt.

Leaders from both parties involved revealed that the PML-N leadership was ready to ask Anjum Aqeel Khan, who is allegedly involved in a land scam, to withdraw in favour of JI’s Mian Mohammad Aslam in NA-48, provided the JI reciprocates in NA-49.

However, sources said the PML-N would not withdraw Mr Khan if the JI refused to withdraw Zubair Farooq Khan from NA-49, where PML-N’s Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry is already facing a tough contest with Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar (PPP PML-Q joint candidate) and Chaudhry Ilyas Meharban of the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI).

In NA-48, the PTI contestant will be former PML-N stalwart Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, whereas the PPP has given its ticket to Faisal Sakhi Butt.

Another seat, the sources said, which the PML-N was willing to vacate for the JI, is NA-121 Lahore, where the JI has awarded ticket to former MNA Farid Ahmed Piracha.

When contacted, Mr Piracha confirmed that the two parties were still negotiating through some “middlemen”, and hoped the two parties would reach an understanding on some seats.

When asked of the possibility of an adjustment in NA-121 and NA-48, he said there was nothing concrete, “but some well-wishers want to see this happening.”

Similarly, a JI spokesman, on condition of anonymity, confirmed the contacts between the two parties, but categorically stated that his party would not withdraw Zubair Farooq Khan from NA-49 in any case.

Former MNA Anjum Aqeel Khan had, in July 2011, escaped from a police station where he had been arrested for a land fraud case. He fled in a car after dozens of his supporters attacked the police station and remained in hiding for a day before surrendering after a warning was issued by the PML-N leadership.

At one point, party chief Nawaz Sharif had reportedly decided to expel Mr Khan from the party for causing damage to the party’s image, but was stopped by some close confidants. Later, a committee formed to probe the incident absolved the former legislator when Mr Khan took the stance that his escape was not a planned act.Mr Khan had also been involved in an attack on a teacher in 2009, but the issue was resolved when the MNA, who is stated as one of the main financiers of the party, apologised to the teacher.

Political experts believe Mr Khan had won the 2008 elections in a one-sided contest since the JI had boycotted the polls and the PPP had fielded a weak candidate, Dr Israr Shah. Mr Khan had secured 61,480 votes whereas Dr Israr Shah remained the runners up with 26,485 votes.

This time, the scenario is different as the 2002 winner Mian Aslam (JI) is in the run. He had managed to win from the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) platform with 40,365 votes, while his main rivals, PPP’s Dr Babar Awan and PML-N’s Syed Zafar Ali Shah, bagged 28,771 and 3,893 votes respectively.

Similarly, PML-N had won from NA-49 in 2008 after a tough contest when its candidate Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry defeated PPP’s Syed Nayyar Bokhari with a margin of just 756 votes. Mr Bokhari bagged 44,725 votes to Dr Tariq’s 45,482.

The present PPP candidate, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, was also in the field on the PML-Q ticket, but came third with 34,546 votes.

Moreover, the JI’s boycott had also played a pivotal role in the PML-N victory.

This time, regaining the NA-49 seat has become a tough task for the PML-N because of the presence of JI and Mr Khokhar.

Meanwhile, the number of candidates vying for the two National Assembly seats (NA-48 and NA-49) has doubled since the last elections as 77 candidates are in the run compared to the 34 in 2008 and 29 in 2002.

Of these, 51 are contesting from NA-48 and 26 from NA-49 according to the final list issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday.

Comments (19) Closed

ali abbas Apr 25, 2013 12:53pm
how is imran khan trying to change anything? he has surrounded himself with all the lotas and his philosophy is aligned with taliban. only thing he can do is to change country for the worse and turn it into old Afghanistan of taliban
Hira b Apr 24, 2013 12:25pm
How sad... This is not a game of chess, where you scarfice your pawn to save the king and queen... Let the people of that area decide which candidate or party they want to vote for...
Shuaib Apr 25, 2013 04:15am
Really appreciate this move between PML-N and JI. Withdrawing from one seat each is a WIN-WIN for both parties. Otherwise, "third party" will take benefit of internal differences of right wing parties. PPP is all out to facilitate PTI against PML-N, so PML-N should focus on strategic alliance.
Salman Saleem Apr 25, 2013 12:54pm
That will be a good strategy by PML-N and JI to do seat adjustment in Islamabad. As it will save the right wing vote from divide. They should go for it in some other constituencies also.
Salman Saleem Apr 25, 2013 12:48pm
Is not Imran Khan and Sheikh Rasheed doing the same thing in NA-55 and NA-56 of Rawalpindi? Have not Tehreek e Insaaf made seat adjustment with Awami Muslim League and Bahawalpur National Awami Party (BNAP) of Nawab Salahuddin Abbasi? What's wrong in it if PML-N and JI do the same?
Mehtab Apr 25, 2013 02:28am
PMLn will win easily inshaAllah
Logical Apr 25, 2013 02:15am
These so-called politicians are dinosaurs and belong in the horror section of history books, not on campaign trails. Where are your 30 and 40 something year old educated, intelligent, civic minded, selfless, visionaries who should be leading the nation? Where are your young yearning for freedom and a chance at a good life. What have you done with all of them?
Adnan Apr 25, 2013 04:20am
Shameful tactics to lead people who trust their so called pious leaders!
ibnulajami Apr 24, 2013 10:25am
I think Mian Aslam of JI will win NA 48 in any case. JI would be contest in NA 49. However, NA 121 might be negotiated.
imraan Apr 24, 2013 03:12pm
JI should confirm this seat for them by doing seat adjustment with PMLN. JI should withdraw candidate from any of Pindi constituency for PMLN in response to withdrawal of PMLN'S candidate from NA 48 for JI.
zoxo100 Apr 24, 2013 12:39pm
I say all should vote PTI if they want change otherwise dont complain afterwards. This is exactly what Inran Khan is trying to change, although first time round he may have to some juggling to get in first.
Salman Saleem Apr 25, 2013 12:51pm
This is not horse trading. This is called seat adjustment. Tehreek e Insaaf has done the same with Awami Muslim League of Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed and Bahawalpur National Awami Party (BNAP) of Nawab Salahuddin Abbasi? PML-N and JI can also go for it.
Logical Apr 24, 2013 04:03pm
This is called horse trading, NOT democracy, and totally shameful. No wonder NO one respects them around the world.
Pakistani Apr 24, 2013 11:15pm
Are people gonna vote for this again?? Maybe so. No wonder they are around again. People who forget their past are condemned to repeat it.
Muhammad Apr 24, 2013 07:47pm
I don't believe Mian Aslam will win this time. PTI will win for sure UNLESS the young generation sleeps the day off (i.e. the election day) like every time. I hope this time they getup and bring their families to the polling stations!
Ali Murtaza Apr 24, 2013 09:39pm
Pakistan Tehreek -e-Insaf will emerge victorious no matter who is the opponent. On 11 May2013 Naya Pakistan will emerge.
Arshad Patel,Ohio,USA Apr 24, 2013 09:07pm
Anjaam e Gulistan kya ho ga, her shakh peh uloo baitha hai
Hasnain Haque Apr 24, 2013 08:19pm
This is simply astonishing, only in Pakistan this can happen. I hope people of Pakistan will wake up and teach these corrupt, trading and bartering for their own benefit politicians a lesson by voting for change. I hope Paksitanis will vote with their hearts and minds rather than thinking about their pockets.
Khalid Apr 24, 2013 07:17pm
How can we call these people our leaders. These are traders who would trade Pakistan for money. There are no word to describe the actions of PMLN and JI. They have no shame in doing anything as long as it benefits them. People of Pakistan, give someone else a chance. No one can be worse than the people we have already tried.