FAISALABAD: PML-N leaders have started flexing their muscles to grab the district council chairman slot and they are lobbying for their favourite candidates vigorously.
Now former district nazim Zahid Nazir, elder brother of MNA Asim Nazir, and Junaid Afzal Sahi, son of former Punjab Assembly speaker Afzal Sahi and nephew of MNA Ghulam Rasool Sahi, are struggling to get the nod from PML-N leadership for the district council chairman slot.
Zahid Nazir has already been elected unopposed as union council chairman and Sahi succeeded on Oct 31 last.
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Former district nazim Rana Zahid Touseef, brother of former state minister Rana Asif Touseef, had been fielded by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf for the district council chairman slot and Qasim Farooq, son of MNA Mian Farooq, was also in the run for the same slot, but both lost union council election.
Qasim Farooq, who is also the PML-N district president, has lost the union council-145 (Dijkot) elections to his uncle Khalid Mehmood who was fielded by the PTI.
Failing to get Farooq elected as UC chairman, now some parliamentarians are trying to get him elected on special seats only to stop ‘turncoats’ from clinching the district chairman slot.
Nazir had been elected district nazim on the ticket of PML-Q in the Pervez Musharraf regime in 2001. His brother Asim had also made it to the national assembly from NA-77.
However, prior to the last general elections, both joined the PML-N and Asim was given ticket for NA-77 ignoring Talal Chaudhry, who belongs to this constituency, and contested the 2008 election against Asim. Asim got 63,776 votes while Talal could bag 49,807.
In the last general elections, the leadership found the solution and accommodated both Talal and Asim. Talal was fielded from NA-76.
MNA Mian Farooq, Talal Chaudhry and other parliamentarians of the rural areas are not willing to see Nazir as district council chairman citing his family had history of changing loyalties.
Sources said a couple of days ago, parliamentarians held a meeting at the residence of a political personality, who is close to the Sharifs, and they decided to ‘stop’ Nazir from winning the party confidence for the chairman slot.
However, in this meeting, some parliamentarians had expressed their sympathies for the Sahi family of Chak Jhumra.
Owing to differences between State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali and Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, the PML-N leadership will decide candidates for district council chairman and mayor slots.
Rana Sanaullah said the party would constitute a board to obtain the applications from the people desirous of contesting for mayor and chairman slots.
He said Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif would interview the aspirants and not a single group would be in a position to intervene in the process.
He dispelled the impression of grouping in the party and said owing to election and a single press conference by Sher Ali, the situation grew somewhat tense and “now everything is normal.”
PML-N City President MPA Sheikh Ijaz said party workers would not see any turncoat as the district council chairman or mayor of Faisalabad. “We want Qasim Farooq as chairman of district council and we will try to get him elected on special seats.”
He said workers would be accommodated to two major slots of mayor and district council chairman and party leadership would decide the candidates.
Sources said some parliamentarians were also struggling to stop party vote for the Sahi scion citing that the latter family had also enjoyed power with Pervez Musharraf and Afzal Sahi had served as Punjab Assembly speaker.
They said Sahi had strong relations with former chief minister Pervaiz Elahi and he could damage party interests by holding the district council chairman slot.
Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2015