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Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari (L), sits next to his father, Asif Ali Zardari, during.— Reuters/File Photo

LAHORE: The Pakistan People’s Party at last finalised on Thursday candidates for three national assembly seats in the provincial metropolis after its hunt for strong stuff failed.

According to a senior PPP leader, the party has fielded rather unknown faces -- Aslam Iqbal for NA-128, Zahid Bokhari for NA-126 and Faraz Hashmi, son of Asif Hashmi, for NA-118.

The PPP first offered ticket to Chaudhry Shahzad, having strong political background, for NA-128 after he and his two-time MNA father, Chaudhry Zulfiqar, quit the PML-N. But when the PML-N wooed him back, the PPP offered Rashid Bhatti, a PTI dissident, to contest but on his refusal it introduced a new face.

The PPP leadership on Thursday also reportedly contacted PML-N former MPA Dr Saeed Elahi and offered him to contest on both NA-126 and PP-152. Dr Elahi, however, preferred to maintain his two-decade long association with the PML-N which had denied him ticket this time. On the disqualification of former Evacuee Trust Property Board chairman Asif Hashmi for NA-118 by the Election Tribunal, the PPP was looking for a potential candidate while Mr Hashmi was lobbying for his son Faraz Hashmi.

Since former Punjab PPP secretary general Samiullah Khan, who contested last election along with Mr Hashmi on a provincial seat, had joined the PML-N, the PPP could not persuade any of its stalwarts like Aslam Gill. In the end it had no option but to field Faraz Hashmi.

Otherwise poorly placed in the stronghold of the PML-N, PPP got a boost when the Diyals announced joining hands with Samina Ghurki, the PPP’s candidate for NA-130.

The Diyals got angry with the PML-N leadership after it denied PP-158 ticket to Navid Ashiq Diyal as it had to accommodate a PPP dissident Mian Habib Awan. Mr Awan had won this seat (from PPP platform). The Ghurki’s arch rival Diyals seemed to have no other option but to mend their relations with the former and secure the provincial assembly seat (PP-158). The PPP believes that with the support of Diyals, Ms Ghurki has bright chances to win the seat.

While the PML-N and PTI have already announced their candidates for city’s national and provincial assembly seats, the PPP failed to announce its hopefuls even on Thursday, the last day to apply for the election symbol.

PPP Secretary-General Sardar Latif Khosa said the PPP would announce the final list of its candidates on Friday (today).

To a question, he said the PPP wanted to field potential candidates and for the purpose it was in contact with leaders of other parties as well.

Unofficial list of candidates for 13 NA Lahore seats: Faraz Hashmi (NA-118), Malik Sohail (NA-119), Chaudhry Zubair Kardar (NA-120), Auranzeb Burki (NA-121), Barrister Amir Hasan (NA-122), Azizur Rehman Chan (NA-123), Bushra Aitzaz (NA-124), Navid Chaudhry (NA-125), Zahid Bokhari (NA-126), Khurram Latif Khosa (NA-127), Aslam Iqbal (NA-128), Tariq Shabbir Meo (NA-129) and Samina Ghurki (NA-130).

25 PP seats: Yousuf Ahad Malik (PP-137), Faraz Hashmi (PP-138), Mian Majid (PP-139), Afshan Bibi (PP-140), Shahid Iqbal (PP-141), Arif Nasim Kashmiri (PP-142), Haji Ahmed (PP-143), Zahid Ali Shah (PP-144), Haji Imdad (PP-145), Zahid Zulifqar (PP-146), Iftikhar Shahid (PP-147), Naeem Zafar (PP-148), Nadir Khan (PP-149), Asif Nagra (PP-150), Fahim Saqib (PP-151), Javed Akhtar (PP-152), Tariq Aziz (PP-153), Faisal Mir (PP-154), Ashraf Bhatti (PP-155), Iftikhar Khan Niazi (PP-156), Babar Sohail Butt (PP-157), Navid Ijaz Diyal (PP-158), Malik Asif (PP-159), Tariq Sindhu (PP-160) and Malik Ashfaq Jiliana (PP-161).

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