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GUJRAT: A strong group within the local chapter of the ruling PML-N has expressed concern and demanded a probe into changing the route of cavalcade of party chief Nawaz Sharif at the entrance to the Gujrat city.

Even Mr Sharif had expressed wonder and got his vehicle stopped for a while along GT Road bypass to inquire as to why the route was changed.

The group blames some vested interests in the party as well as local administration for [intentionally] changing the route to fail a big reception arranged by Sharif family’s loyalist Aurang Zaib Butt in front of (Awami Rabita Office) or Muslim League House whereas a large number of workers, including hundreds of women, had been waiting for Nawaz Sharif since Friday morning at the venue.

Sana-Sher ‘rivalry’ blamed

Sources in PML-N and the district administration said the route had been changed on the [alleged] directions of the two-member cabinet committee on law and order including law minister Rana Sanaullah and minister for counter terrorism department Ayub Khan Gadhi. The ministers had inspected the route from helicopter and visited the main venue after which they were also given briefing by the administration on the situation and rift within the [local] rank and file of the party.

The reception point which Mr. Sharif could not pass through had actually been arranged by Punjab youth wing headed by federal minister Abid Sher Ali who had also visited the venue and held a meeting with the youth wing officials prior to the scheduled arrival of the rally.

Moreover, the Zaib Butt’s reception venue had also been approved by Maryam Safdar. Mr Sharif was told that the route was changed on the directions of Rana Sanaullah.

Mr. Sharif had also apologised to the participants at GTS Chowk for change in the route.Interestingly, there was no women participation in the GTS Chowk’s gathering unlike the reception arranged by Zaib Butt.

Official sources say differences between Rana Sanaullah and Abid Sher Ali might be the reason for [intentionally] failing the reception arranged by the youth wing whereas Gujrat Municipal Corporation mayor Haji Nasir Mehmood and Zaib Butt had also been at loggerheads since long.

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2017

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