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Former minister for religious affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi. – File Photo

ISLAMABAD: After refusing the party ticket for the National Assembly seat, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has now promised Senate ticket to former religious affairs minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi.

Mr Kazmi, however, told Dawn that he would respond to the party’s offer after consulting his constituents in a meeting which he had called in his Rahim Yar Khan constituency on April 16.

The Senate ticket offer to Mr Kazmi has been made by Faryal Talpur, the sister of President Asif Ali Zardari, during a meeting with him at the Zardari House here on Saturday.

An official handout issued by the PPP’s media office said that Faryal Talpur had not only praised the services of Hamid Saeed Kazmi for the party, but reposed full confidence in his loyalty with the party.

She said the party had decided to issue ticket to Mr Kazmi for the seat in the upper house. Interestingly, the next Senate polls are scheduled to be held in March 2015.

Ms Talpur expressed the hope that Mr Kazmi, who was sacked by former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for his involvement in a Haj scam, would continue to work for the party with the same zeal and energy with which he had been working in the past.

“She also instructed him to support and take active part in the election campaign of the party candidates in his area,” it said.

Sources in the PPP said that after getting prior information that the party leadership had decided not to issue him the ticket for the National Assembly seat (NA-192), Mr Kazmi lodged a strong protest within the party.

The sources said soon after the announcement of the official list of the PPP candidates from South Punjab on Friday night, Mr Kazmi met President Asif Ali Zardari at the Aiwan-i-Sadr to register his protest.

Mr Kazmi was advised by the president to see Ms Talpur and promised that his services for the party would be honoured.

Ms Talpur, the sources said, apprised Mr Kazmi about the pressure being faced by the party on the issue of the award of tickets and requested him to remain calm.

Mr Kazmi, 56, who belongs to a well-to-do religious family, had defeated incumbent Punjab Governor Makhdoom Mehmood Ahmed in the 2008 elections from Rahim Yar Khan.

A source close to Mr Kazmi said there had been a feeling in the PPP circles in Rahim Yar Khan that the Punjab governor, who is also a relative of Yousuf Gilani, was behind the decision of the PPP to refuse him the ticket.

The former religious affairs minister faced a difficult situation when in December 2010 he was sacked by former prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Mr Kazmi spent a considerable time in Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi, and used to attend the assembly sessions on the production order issued by Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza.

Updated Apr 14, 2013 05:13am

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