PML-N president Nawaz Sharif.—File Photo
LAHORE: Facing unrest among its cadres over distribution of party tickets, the PML-N has launched efforts to win back the disgruntled workers who have decided to contest elections as independent candidates.
PML-N President Nawaz Sharif has tasked younger brother, Shahbaz Sharif, to actively look into the matter before it rises to damaging scale after Senator Ishaq Dar could not make a breakthrough in this respect, a source in the party’s Model Town Secretariat says.
Many PML-N bigwigs who had stood by the party during testing times of Musharraf regime were shocked to see award of tickets for the 2013 polls to Q Leaguers against whom they had fought in the 2002 and 2008 general elections and suffered at their hands both physically and financially.
There were also complaints against certain PML-N MPs who had either earned among their constituents a bad name for their corrupt practices or lost contacts with their constituencies after winning the polls.
Upset at the party leadership’s decision in favour of the newcomers and the old but rotten elements, diehard workers from some constituencies in Lahore and elsewhere staged rallies to get their protest registered.
When those who mattered gave a cold shoulder to their grievances, some of the unhappy workers chose to rebel and fought against the party’s nominees.
Shahbaz held a party meeting late on Friday night to identify the people who could influence the disgruntled elements and form a strategy for winning them back.
Under this plan, Hamza Shahbaz has been asked to approach the rebels in Lahore division, while Dr Saeed Elahi, ex-MPA from Lahore who himself has been denied ticket this time, will contact the dissenters in Sargodha division. Focal persons for other Punjab divisions are being selected.
The source says Shahbaz himself has visited ex-MPA Hafiz Nauman who has been denied ticket reportedly on the pressure of Sardar Ayyaz Sadiq, party’s nominee against PTI chairman Imran Khan in Icchra, Lahore. Nauman’s constituency PP-148 falls under Sadiq’s NA-122.
Earlier, Senator Ishaq Dar had been given the job. He had ‘outsourced’ the duty to the staff related to the Sharifs’ security affairs and got prepared a list of annoyed activists.
But the senator’s ‘non-political’ approach proved rather counterproductive as a worker contesting against ex-MNA Bilal Yasin in PP-139, Lahore, reportedly refused to even come on line with Mr Dar.