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PML-N becomes a divided house in Taxila

Updated June 23, 2018


TAXILA: The supporters and workers of the PML-N in Taxila are in a fix as the party stands divided in two camps, one led by former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and the other by party’s Rawalpindi chapter president Sardar Mumtaz Khan.

Mr Nisar, who bagged 102,142 votes in the 2013 elections, is now contesting as an independent candidate for both the provincial and national assembly seats after developing differences with the party leadership. Sardar Mumtaz, who is leading the other camp, is waiting for the award of ticket by the party high command for the NA seat.

However, the situation has created uncertainty among the local leaders and supporters. If the party awards ticket to Mr Mumtaz, its votes would be divided which would benefit PTI’s Ghulam Sarwar Khan who defeated Mr Nisar in the last elections despite the fact the latter was a candidate of the PML-N.

Supporters are in a fix as Chaudhry Nisar is contesting as independent while Sardar Mumtaz Khan leads the other group

As both the PML-N and Mr Nisar group have not announced their candidates for the provincial assembly seats of Taxila (PP-19) and PP-20 Wah, the aspiring candidates could not launch their election campaigns.

The participation of religious groups such as Sunni Tehreek, Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and the pressure group of Faisal Iqbal in the elections would also dent the vote bank of the PML-N. The division of the PML-N votes would benefit the PTI.

There has been a fierce political competition between Mr Nisar and Mr Sarwar. In 2013, Mr Sarwar of the PTI bagged 110,308 votes and beat Mr Nisar who got 102,142 votes. In the 2008 elections, Mr Nisar got 72,257 votes against Mr Sarwar’s 49068 votes. Mr Sarwar contested the polls on the ticket of the PML-Q. While in 2002, Mr Sarwar with 66,900 votes beat Mr Nisar who bagged 57,110. Mr Sarwar contested the 2002 polls as an independent candidate after leaving the PPP.

On the other hand, Mr Mumtaz has no strong political background. He was appointed as the president of the party’s district chapter by Mr Nisar. He has no roots in the public as he remained in the third line of party leadership in the local political scenario.

The other candidate for the provincial assembly seat of Wah is Raja Sheraz Asghar, a businessman. He contested election for a councilor’s seat of the cantonment board but lost to a PTI candidate.

Another candidate for PP-19 is Zeeshan Butt, who recently resigned as the vice chairman of the municipal committee. He is well known in the city but has no political roots in the rural area.

The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) has nominated its candidates for the one NA and two provincial assembly seats of Taxila. For NA-63, former MPA Prof Mohammad Waqas Khan of Jamaat-i-Islami has been nominated while Safeer Alam of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam has been nominated for PP-19. Prof Waqas Khan has also been nominated by the MMA for the provincial assembly seat of Wah.

Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2018