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SAHIWAL: After PPP district and tehsil office bearers threatened to quit the party over tickets for PP-197, the central leadership issued a ticket on Friday to young jiyala Sarmad Shafqat.

Earlier, the party had issued tickets for NA-147 to business tycoon Rana Amir Shahzad and PP-197 to Naeem Nisar ignoring local party president Zaki Chaudhry and Mr Shafqat. Mr Shahzad joined the party three months back and managed to snatch the ticket from four-decade old jiyala Mr Chaudhry.

The candidates list issued on Wednesday had shocked the party cadres after they found the names of Mr Chaudhry and Mr Shafqat missing from the list. This prompted local party office-bearers to call a press conference to announce resignation from the party.

This pressurised the Zardari House, Islamabad. Soon, the Provincial Parliamentary Board meeting was convened and the ticket was issued to Mr Shafqaut, who is a nephew to Mr Chaudhry.

Ticket for NA-147, however, will stay with Mr Shahzad, and Mr Chaudhry says he will accept the party decision.

Mr Shahzad, before joining the PPP, remained the PML-Q district president for 15 years. Recently, he was arrested in a bogus cheque fraud case by the Ghala Mandi Police. He was released after paying Rs700,000 to the complainant. He is brother of former PML-Q MNA Rana Tariq who won the 2002 election. Mr Shahzad remained the Sahiwal tehsil nazim from 2001 to 2005. He contested the 2013 elections and secured 22,618 votes.

A source says both federal and provincial parliamentary boards of the PPP recommended Mr Chaudhry’s name for NA-147 but he was denied ticket.

Mr Chaudhry told Dawn he received a call from Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to withdraw his nomination for NA-147.

“I follow party discipline,” he later told reporters at his residence.

On the other hand, Mr Shahzad with his supporters celebrated the party ticket by taking out a huge procession in the city.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2018