MANSEHRA, March 30: The rift in Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has widened over its decision not to field candidates for two provincial assemblies in Mansehra.

PML-N district chapter on Saturday decided to field its president, Aslam Khan Baffa, against Mohammad Safdar, son-in-law of party chief Nawaz Sharif, in NA-21.

The decision was made during a meeting held here.

“We have rendered great sacrifices and were put behind the bars during Musharraf regime only for trying to keep the name of the party and its chief alive in the minds and hearts of the people of Hazara, but now, the party ticket has been given to Sardar Mohammad Yousaf, who had quit the party during its testing times,” said Mr Baffa.

Party office-bearers and workers attended the meeting in large numbers.

Besides others, meeting was also addressed by Ashiq Raza Swati, Khalid Latif and Umar Khattab.

Aslam Khan said he would not leave the party but would contest election against Sardar Yousaf, who was playing the politics of ethnicity and hatred.

“Not long ago, Sardar Yousaf was loyal to military ruler Pervez Musharraf and Chaudhrys of Gujarat against Mr Nawaz Sharif but it is unfortunate that the party leadership is supporting him on a National Assembly seat and leaving two important seats in the district vacant,” he said.

Mr Baffa said Babar Saleem Swat and Akhtar Hussain Shah, who were given tickets by the PML-N provincial parliamentary board for PK-53 and PK-54 respectively, were very strong and reasonable candidates for the two constituencies and that they could win the both seats if given a chance to contest elections.

Ashiq Swati said PML-N workers won’t vote party candidates in NA-20 and NA-21 at any cost until the party gave tickets to Babar Saleem Swat and Akhtar Hussain Shah respectively to whom the provincial parliamentary board had issued tickets.

Provincial PML-N candidate Salah Mohammad Khan said he was optimistic that issues would be settled amicably.

Mr Salah, who is the provincial vice president of the party in KP, told reporters that the district and provincial reconciliation committees constituted to address such issues or differences would surely address the issue.

He said he was optimistic that the party leadership would not leave the two important seats vacant in Mansehra.

“We are in a winning position in every Mansehra constituency,” he said.

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