ISLAMABAD: The influence of mighty Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan seems to be fading away in the aftermath of May 11 general elections as the “Lahori group” within the PML-N ranks has been strengthened due to some adverse poll results.
Nisar, who has been elected to lower house of the Parliament for the record eighth time, is known for wielding a great deal of influence over the Sharif brothers. His friendship with Shahbaz Sharif dated back to early days of their political careers.
The strongest personality in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) after the two Sharifs, Nisar was simultaneously respected and hated by the leaders of his own party. Hardly anyone within the party had guts to challenge his authority.
However, something different has happened in the aftermath of May 11 general elections. The PML-N lost two key Rawalpindi constituencies of NA-55 and NA-56. It also suffered a setback in NA-48 Islamabad. Moreover, Ghulam Sarwar Khan of the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) defeated the PML-N in NA-53 Taxila.
The PML-N had awarded tickets to Anjum Aqeel Khan (NA-48), Hanif Abbasi (NA-56) and Shakeel Awan (NA-55) at the behest of Chaudhry Nisar. He himself contested elections against PTI’s Sarwar Khan and lost.
Interestingly before the general elections, a parliamentary board had suggested PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif to not give tickets to Aqeel, Abbasi and Awan. It had warned that the party would lose those important seats by fielding wrong candidates. However, Chaudhry Nisar prevailed and made Nawaz Sharif ignore the recommendations of the board.
“We had categorically requested Mian Sahab to not award them with NA tickets. We had a fair analysis they would lose the elections,” Syed Zafar Ali Shah, who headed the parliamentary board told Dawn.com.
The second setback for Chaudhry Nisar was the nomination of Sardar Ayaz Sadiq for the office of National Assembly Speaker. The PML-N president made that decision against the whims and wishes of mythical Nisar.
Last Friday, while talking to journalists, Chaudhry Nisar had ruled out the possibility of Ayaz Sadiq becoming the NA Speaker. He categorically questioned how all the important slots could be given to people hailing from Lahore. The PML-N president proved his most trusted comrade wrong.
When Sardar Ayaz came to submit his nomination papers to the NA Secretariat, on Sunday, Chaudhry Nisar did not accompany him.
The PML-N sources said that “Lahori group” in the incoming ruling party is now far stronger than it was before. Senator Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Asif, Pervez Rashid, Ahsan Iqbal, Ayaz Sadiq among others are likely to call the shots in important matters from now onwards.
The wrangling between Malik Riaz of Bahria Town and Chaudhry Nisar is also an open secret. It would be interesting to observe the moves of the latter, in case he becomes the Interior Minister.
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