CHAKWAL: Former district nazim and provincial minister Sardar Ghulam Abbas, who announced he was leaving PML-N on May 14, may rejoin the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

Mr Abbas had quit PTI in 2012 after developing differences with Imran Khan, hardly a year after joining.

With a large vote bank in both the constituencies of Chakwal district, Mr Abbas has a track record of changing political parties and has been a member of almost all major political parties including PML-N, PTI, PPP and PML-Q.

Since 1985, politics in Chakwal district has been focused between the Sardar group and the anti-Sardar group or the PML-N. PTI emerged as a third political force in the 2013 elections but failed to make a significant impact in the PML-N-dominated district, where the Sardar group has been the ruling party’s sole challenger.

When Mr Abbas joined PTI in Nov 2011, it was thought that the party will clean sweep the 2013 polls in the district but he quit the party in 2012 after developing differences with its chief.

The veteran politician had left the party in 2012 and had joined PML-N

The politics in the district turned when he joined the PML-N in Sept 2016, a union which political observers had said was unnatural.

A PTI leader privy to the developments told Dawn Sardar Ghulam Abbas will be joining PTI in a few days.

Mr Abbas had demanded tickets for NA-64 and PP-23 and his demand was accepted by the PTI leadership.

According to reports, Mr Abbas will be PTI’s candidate from NA-64 in Chakwal-I while his nephew Sardar Aftab Akbar will contest for PP-23, Chakwal III.

“Sardar Abbas has no option but to join PTI while the party has no way of winning in the Chakwal district without him,” he said.

Sources in the PTI said that on the direction of PTI leader Jahangir Khan Tareen, two of the party’s leaders - Nazar Mohammad Gondal and Ghulam Sarwar Khan - held a meeting with Mr Abbas on the evening of May 14 at the latter’s residence in Kot Chaudhrian Village where they suggested he join their party.

“One thing is clear, that I will contest the election from the platform of a political party. PTI leaders have been in touch with me but the final decision is yet to be made,” Mr Abbas told Dawn.

PTI’s vice president for its northern wing Raja Yasir Humayun Sarfaraz said the ticket for NA-64 was given to him but he will gladly give it up for Sardar Abbas.

According to sources, PPP also tried to get Mr Abbas to join the party but he refused.

According to reports, Sindh Assembly Deputy Speaker Syeda Shehla Raza contacted him as did PPP Punjab President Qamar Zaman Kaira.

Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2018