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GUJRAT: Two dissenting groups within the PML-N have emerged here in Gujrat city’s PP-31 and announced to contest independently against the party’s former MPA Imran Zafar in protest allegedly against the policies of Mr Zafar’s uncle, Municipal Corporation Mayor Haji Nasir Mehmood.

One group is being led by businessman Haji Aurangzaib Butt and the other by Union Council (UC) 12 Chairman Muhammad Yousaf Gull, who has resigned from the chairman’s office to contest the general elections.

Both Mr Butt and Mr Gull have submitted their nomination papers from PP-31 as independent candidates whereas another UC chairman, Muhammad Ashraf, from the PML-N has applied for a party ticket from this constituency.

He had even appeared before the party’s board for an interview last week where he criticised what he called the poor performance of the mayor and his nephew in resolving public issues.

Conflict was caused by their differences with Gujrat mayor

Aurangzaib Butt is a renowned builder and philanthropist and was once a close aide of former federal minister Ahmed Mukhtar of the PPP. In 2011, he had quit the PPP and joined the PML-N and became a close associate of MNA Hamza Shahbaz, but the party did not accommodate him in the local bodies elections of 2015 due to strong opposition by the MPA’s group.

Mr Butt, who had earlier been given the nod to contest from NA-105 (now NA-69) in 2013 but later dropped, has formed his own group within the party comprising some old guards such as Sanaullah Butt, Nasir Dar, Chaudhry Tanveer Hussain among others.

The group has been running its campaign in every union council for several months and announced various packages for jobless youth, needy students, poor women and free meals for patients in public sector hospitals as well as free meals for labourers.

So far, former MPA Zafar, PML-Q’s Imran Masood, PTI’s Saleem Sarwar, MMA’s Dr Tariq Saleem, PPP’s Rizwan Ahmed and some independent candidates have filed their nomination papers from PP-31.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2018