CHAKWAL: The Pakistan National Muslim League (PNML), just one of the many lesser known political parties in the country, rose as the second largest political force in Chakwal after the new Local Government Ordinance was passed, when it did not even exist in Chakwal before this.

Hours after the new ordinance was issued, the party could boast 22 seats in the district council which was once the stronghold of the ruling PML-N as many general members of the Sardar Ghulam Abbas Group and 22 newly elected chairmen of union councils (UC) joined the PNML.

The Punjab Local Government Second Amendment Ordinance 2016 brings proportional representation into effect, which means every political party will be given reserved seats in proportion to its general seats. Elections on reserved seats in the national assembly and in provincial assemblies are also held through this method.

The new ordinance, which was issued on January 20 and has been challenged in the High Court by both PTI and PML-Q, threatened to take away their political victory from independent candidates, who had won the most seats in the local government elections in Punjab.

This trend in the province was also witnessed in the ruling party’s stronghold of Chakwal, where independents led by former District Nazim Sardar Ghulam Abbas won the most seats.

After winning the local government (LG) elections, Mr Abbas had wanted to join the PML-N but could not after he was met with resistance from local leaders and workers of the party.

When the new ordinance was issued, Sardar Ghulam Abbas had to gather his chairmen and general members under a party’s flag because according to the new legislation, his group and its members would not have been counted in the elections on indirect seats, scheduled for February.

Sardar Abbas then summoned a meeting of his chairmen and general members on Sunday and told them about the new political situation that the new ordinance had given rise to.

A leader of Sardar Group told Dawn about the few options they were left with, the first being joining a mainstream party, the second to resign and the third of joining a lesser known political party.

“Participants of the meeting did not want to join a mainstream party under unfit political circumstances and they did not want to resign because that would have meant leaving the battlefield open. It was therefore decided to join a lesser known party”, he explained.

Though he himself has not joined the party because he will be fighting the next general elections, the idea of joining PNML came from Sardar Ghulam Abbas as one of his friends, Saeed Akbar of Bhakar, had just joined the party after the new ordinance was passed.

PNML is a Toba Tek Singh based party, and is one of the 321 political parties registered in Pakistan. It was founded in 2008 by Chaudhry Amjad Ali Waraich who is a resident of the Gojra Tehsil in Toba Tek Singh.

Mr Waraich was elected MNA in 2002 on the PML Chattha Group’s ticket and was disqualified in 2008 for holding a fake degree.

He then formed the PNML and in 2008 elections his wife, Farkhanda Amjad Waraich, was elected MNA and his brother Asghar Bilal Waraich MPA.

In the 2013 elections, both Amjad Waraich and his wife could not secure a victory while his brother was elected MPA once again.

Interestingly, Mr Waraich’s older brother, Javed Waraich is a PML-N MNA. Javed Waraich’s wife Fouzia Waraich is set to become chairman of the district council Toba Tek Singh.

Currently, PNML has only one parliamentarian, Asghar Bilal Waraich, and the party has just two members in the Municipal Committee Gojra, and six UC chairmen in the Toba Tek Singh district.

Published in Dawn, January 31st, 2016