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SIALKOT: As many as three former Punjab Assembly members of PML-N after being rejected by the top leadership for party tickets, have formed their own independent groups and announced contesting general elections against the PML-N candidates in Daska and Pasrur tehsils.

The [outgoing] ex-MPAs Muhammad Asif Bajwa (Daska), and Rana Liaquat Ali and Chaudhry Munawar Ali Gill (Pasrur tehsil) have also claimed the support of 40 PML-N-backed chairmen out of the total 124 union councils in Sialkot district.

They claim that the UC chairmen belonging to Daska and Pasrur tehsils will defect from the PML-N over the issuance of party tickets.

In Sialkot, the PML-N dissidents are likely to violate the party discipline and contest the general elections against the PML-N candidates after their failure to get the party tickets.

Earlier, the PTI’s ‘disgruntled’ local leaders were planning to contest the polls as independent candidates after forming independent groups against the PTI nominees in almost all constituencies in Sialkot, Daska, Sambrial and Pasrur tehsils. The PML-N has awarded ticket to Mian Zeeshan Rafiq in Daska city’s constituency (PP 42, Sialkot-VIII) by rejecting [local] ex-MPA Asif Bajwa. Mian Rafiq is a close associate and former adviser to the ex-chief minister Shahbaz Sharif.

Now Bajwa is contesting the elections as an independent candidate as he has already submitted his nomination papers in PP-42.

In Pasrur city, the PML-N has rejected [local] former MPA Munawar Ali Gill and fielded ex-MPA Rana Muhammad Afzal in Pasrur’s PP-40.

Talking to newsmen at Pasrur, Gill says the main reason for rejecting him is his differences with Zahid Hamid (former federal law minister) and his son Ali Zahid.

After the Tahafuz-i-Namoos-i-Risalat controversy, Zahid Hamid is not contesting election from his native Pasrur city. He has fielded his son Ali Zahid and got PML-N ticket for Pasrur city’s constituency (NA-74, Sialkot-III). The party has ignored Munawar Ali Gill, an aspirant for the ticket.

Gill has formed his own independent group and announced contesting the July 25 general elections against PML-N’s Ali Zahid in NA- 74 and Rana Afzal in PP-40 as an independent candidate. Munawar has consecutively won PA seat thrice. He has submitted his nomination papers in both the constituencies.

In Pasrur rural areas constituency (PP-39, Sialkot-V), the PML-N high-ups have awarded ticket to Nawaz Sharif’s close associate Mirza Altaf Hussain (chairman, Union Council Chobara) by rejecting [outgoing] MPA Rana Liaqat Ali, president of Germany chapter of PML-N.

Rana Liaqat has formed his own independent group. He has announced contesting polls against PML-N candidate Ali Zahid in NA-74 and Mirza Altaf Hussain in PP-39. Rana Liaqat Ali has already submitted his nominations in both the constituencies.

On the other hand, the Variyo family has replaced its outgoing MPA Tariq Akhtar Subhani and fielded his elder brother Chaudhry Khush Akhtar Subhani in PP-38.

The PML-N has awarded ticket to Khush Akhtar Subhani (former provincial minister for prisons).

The Variyo’s former MNA Chaudhry Armughan Subhani is also contesting as PML-N candidate against PTI’s Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan in NA-71.

Former foreign minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif is contesting election in NA-73 and PP-37. After failure in getting the ticket, PTI leader Chaudhry Ameer Hussain (former national assembly speaker), Mian Naeem Javaid (former Sialkot district nazim) and Mian Abid Javaid are giving tough time to PTI candidate Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan in NA-72.

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2018