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RAWALPINDI: Political parties are waiting for the decision of the Supreme Court on a petition filed by a local PML-N leader against Awami Muslim League (AML) President Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.

Though the PTI is supporting Sheikh Rashid in NA-60 and NA-62, it also has a plan-B in case the apex court disqualifies the AMP president as it does not want to leave the field open for the PML-N.

Two local leaders of the PTI have already submitted their nomination papers for the two seats. PTI city president Ijaz Khan Jazi submitted nomination for NA-62 (previously NA-56) which was won by Imran Khan in the 2013 elections.

Raja Tariq Kiani of the PTI from Gujar Khan has filed nomination papers for NA-60 (previously NA-55). The party has not yet given tickets to them but in case of Sheikh Rashid’ disqualification they will be the alternative candidates.

On the other hand, the expected decision of the Supreme Court has become talk of the town and people, especially leaders of political parties, are guessing about the decision and its aftermaths.

A senior PTI leader told Dawn that local leaders of his party had made a contingency plan in case Sheikh Rashid was disqualified by the court. He said the party did not want to leave the field open for its opponents, especially the PMl-N.

He said the PTI would accommodate its leaders in consultation with Sheikh Rashid. But he said the decision would not be in favour of the PML-N due to technical grounds.

On the other hand, the AML is hopeful that the decision would not be against its president as he did not hide anything in his nomination papers in 2013.

“We are hopeful that the decision will not be against the party president as all the allegations are fabricated and on the basis of this we have not fielded any covering candidate for Sheikh Rashid. He will face the PMl-N and other opponents,” said a senior leader of the AML.

When contacted, Sheikh Rashid said he would accept the decision of the Supreme Court which was expected on June 13.

“The pray of the petition was to de-seat me from National Assembly and the tenure of the assembly has completed,” he said.

He said he would start his election campaign from Dhoke Chiraghdin on June 14.

On the other hand, PML-N former MNA and candidate Malik Shakil Awan said Sheikh Rashid would be disqualified by the apex court. He said he had pinned high hopes in the case that took more than five years to complete.

Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2018