GUJRANWALA: Success in NA-101 (Wazirabad) by-poll scheduled for March 22 seems to be a matter of ego for PML-N and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

The ruling PML-N, wanting to retain the seat at any cost, again nominated retired Justice Iftikhar Ahmad Cheema even after he was unseated by the Supreme Court for concealing assets of his wife.

Some party workers and MPAs are reportedly angry with his nomination. Sources said the party leadership called them to Lahore the other day to address their reservations.

Divisional PML-N coordinator Mansha Butt, district president Mustanser Gondal and almost all MNAs and MPAs of the district were present there.

Sources said the PML-N would hold a public meeting in Wazirabad on March 20 which was likely to be addressed by MNA Hamza Shahbaz.

PML-N again nominated unseated candidate

PTI chief Imran Khan is also expected to address a public meeting in Alipur Chattha on March 10 and later in Wazirabad on 17th on the request of his nominee Ahmad Nasir Chattha, the son of PML-J chief Hamid Nasir Chattha.

Souces said a number of known figures of the Chattha clan were supporting the PML-N aspirant.

PTI leaders Chaudhry Sarwar and Jehangir Tareen had already spoken at a workers’ convention in Wazirabad a few days ago.

The Chattha family is contesting election from Wazirabad tehsil since the era of their forefathers. Chaudhry Hamid Nasir Chattha’s great grandfather Chaudhry Karam Elahi Chattha and his grandfather Chaudhry Sadaruddin Chattha were active in politics and they contested election before Partition. Chaudhry Salahuddin Chattha, who was the father of Hamid Nasir Chattha, contested election in 1962 and was elected member of legislative assembly of the then West Pakistan. Later, his son Hamid Nasir Chattha contested non-party election in 1985 and became an MNA when PPP had boycotted the same election.

Earlier, PPP nominee retired Maj Ghulam Haider Cheema was elected MNA from the same constituency in 1970 and 1977 polls. Later Mr. Cheema’s son retired Col Ghulam Sarwar Cheema replaced his father and remained MNA twice and defence minister.

In the 2002 election, Hamid Nasir Chattha made an alliance with PPP while party co-chairperson Benazir Buttho withdrew Sarwar Cheema and awarded ticket to Chattha who won the election. Thereafter, Sarwar left PPP and joined PML-N but was defeated by Hamid Nasir Chattha.

In the 2008 and 2013 election, PML-N nominee retired Justice Iftikhar Ahmad Cheema defeated Nasir Chattha. But the Supreme Court unseated Mr. Cheema on charges of concealing assets of his wife and ordered by-election.

PML-N again awarded him party ticket while Hamid Nasir Chattha’s son Ahmad Chattha switched over to PTI in the presence of Imran Khan at their native village Ahmadnagar.

Mr. Cheema claimed that he would defeat him in by-election and complete his hat-rick. But Chattha alleged that the ruling party was planning rigging and demanded that army should be deployed at all polling stations on election day to avoid any untoward incident.

Published in Dawn, March 9th, 2016