RAWALPINDI, May 17: After the defeat in Rawalpindi, one of the key leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is facing criticism from the party workers.
PML-N workers have put the blame of the dismal performance of the party in Rawalpindi — which was once a stronghold of the PML-N — on Chaudhry Nisar as he was calling the shots with regard to awarding of tickets.
The PML-N lost eight seats — two National Assembly and six provincial assembly — to Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI), making it the second largest party in the garrison city. The party leadership was unhappy with the defeat.
Political observers believe that PML-N workers were disappointed over the loss of urban constituencies — NA-53, NA-56, PP-7, PP-8, PP-8 PP-11, PP-12 and PP-13 — in Rawalpindi.
And this defeat came at a time when Shahbaz Sharif, during his tenure as chief minister, had pumped billions of rupees into constructing two overhead bridges (Rs2.8 billion), an underpass (Rs1.8 billion), Rawalpindi Cardiology Institute (Rs4.2 billions) and Marir Hassan Bridge (Rs 450 million) and many other welfare projects and establishment of new colleges.
“For a party that has spent billions in a city and then failing to clinch a seat in election is indeed a big shock. It means the tickets were awarded to inept candidates.
“Ch Nisar must be grilled for the defeat,” Raja Munir, 54, an old PML-N worker in NA-55 told Dawn on Friday,
He said that in 2008 elections, the PML-N swept Rawalpindi and at that time he (Tanveer) was entrusted with the responsibility to pick suitable candidate adding that he had invited Hanif Abbasi to join PML-N at that time.
“Now Ch Nisar Ali Khan can better explain the reasons for the defeat. I withdrew even my nephew Sarfaraz Afzal in favour of Nisar in the larger interest of the party,” he maintained.
Though former PML-N MPA Sheharyar Khan and some senior party workers blame Mr Khan for this debacle, former MNA Shakil Awan who lost to Sheikh Rashid in NA-55 said that the real cause of his party’s defeat in Rawalpindi was due to PPP that preferred to vote for PTI instead of its own candidates in order to defeat PML-N.
However, he declined to comment when asked as to why Chy Nisar contested independently on PP-6 and whether he (Nisar) would retain his provincial assembly seat or NA-52? “Chaudhary Nisar is still a soul of PML-N and there is no anger against him,” Mr Awan said.
Sources in PML-N told Dawn that the top party leadership was not satisfied with its failure to plug internal fissure in Rawalpindis chapter of PML-N that ultimately resulted in inflicting damage to its stronghold in Rawalpinjdi.