ISLAMABAD, Aug 25: The Pakistan Muslim League-N candidate for the by-election in NA-48, Advocate Ashraf Gujjar, is not happy with the party’s local chapter and has accused it of strengthening his opponent in the election.
Mr Gujjar had lost the August 22 by-election to Asad Umar of the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) by a margin of nearly 7,000 votes. He had obtained 41,186 votes against Mr Umar’s 48,073.Like candidates of other political parties who had lost the by-elections, Mr Gujjar, with the help of his supporters, is busy determining the causes of his defeat.
Disheartened by the lack of the party’s support in the constituency, Advocate Gujjar has decided to write a detailed complaint to the party leadership. He will highlight how he had been ‘back-stabbed’ by the local PML-N leaders.
In a statement released on Sunday, Mr Gujjar thanked voters for their support but also hid out at former member of national assembly from the constituency Anjum Aqeel Khan for conspiring against him.
“I have already collected evidence which clearly shows that Anjum Aqeel connived with the PTI against me during the by-election, which eventually resulted in my defeat,” Mr Gujjar told Dawn.
He added, “I have decided to inform the party leadership in writing about every single incident related to this election campaign and how Mr Aqeel became instrumental to my loss.”
Giving a specific example, Mr Gujjar said in Shah Allah Dita Union Council, locals had said on record that Mr Aqeel had personally asked them to abstain from voting or vote for the PTI candidate.
“I will urge the party leadership to conduct a thorough inquiry into the causes of the party’s loss, especially when it had shown good results elsewhere in the country, so that corrective measures can be taken,” maintained Ashraf Gujjar.
Mr Aqeel was not available for comments and Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, the party’s head in the capital, could not be contacted to comment on the accusations levelled by Mr Gujjar.
Mr Anjum Aqeel had won the 2008 general elections from NA-48 but had lost the May 2013 elections to Makhdoom Javed Hashmi of the PTI. However, Mr Hashmi had opted to retain his home constituency of Multan and had vacated the NA-48 seat.
Therefore, Mr Aqeel was a strong contender for the party ticket in the by-elections, but the PML-N leadership decided to field Advocate Ashraf Gujjar.
Talking to Dawn, a PML-N source said the local party chapter had never accepted the awarding of the ticket to Mr Gujjar. Hence some stayed aloof from his election campaign while others actively canvassed against him.
“However, the outcome of the by-election has smashed the myth that Anjum Aqeel is the only person in the constituency who can obtain votes for the party. This will definitely play against the former MNA in the coming years,” commented the party leader.
To elaborate this, he said during the May 11 elections, a 60 per cent voter turn was recorded in the constituency and Mr Aqeel had obtained around 52,000 votes. “Now, with only 32 per cent registered voters polling, Advocate Gujjar managed over 41,000 votes,” he said.