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RAWALPINDI: After the family of former MNA Hanif Abbasi refused to contest the elections in NA-60, the PML-N gave the party ticket to Sajjad Khan, a former tehsil nazim, for the by-polls in the constituency.

The election in NA-60 was postponed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) after the disqualification of PML-N candidate Hanif Abbasi after he was convicted by the Control of Narcotic Substances Court in the ephedrine case.

The ECP fixed Oct 14 for holding elections in the constituency.

Polls were postponed in the constituency after PML-N candidate Hanif Abbasi was convicted in the ephedrine case

The election campaign has not picked momentum in the city yet due to lack of interest by the people.

A senior PML-N leader told Dawn the party had asked Hanif Abbasi to nominate someone from his family to contest the election but he had refused. However, he said, Sajjad Khan was also nominated by Hanif Abbasi.

He said many of the party’s local leaders were willing to contest the election and that they were now delaying launching Mr Khan’s campaign due to grouping in the party.

“Sajjad Khan was also a candidate for Rawalpindi mayor but Sardar Naseem was fielded instead,” he said.

The party leader added that Sajjad Khan was tehsil nazim in 2002 with a PML-Q ticket and that he joined PML-N in 2008.

He is also known to be a close confidant of former MNA Hanif Abbasi while the old leaders have their own group.

He said all party leaders had set aside their differences for the 2018 elections and launched a combined campaign but their efforts had not brought good results for the party, which lost all its seats in the city and cantonment areas.

Another party leader said Daniyal Chaudhry, the son of Tanveer Chaudhry, will be able to obtain more votes if he had been fielded.

He said Daniyal had secured 94,000 votes in NA-62 against Awami Muslim League president Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.

“Though Sajjad Khan will also perform well, there is a need for uniting the party. The party leadership will be visiting the city soon to unite the party,” he said.

When contacted, Hammas Abbasi, the son of Hanif Abbasi, agreed that his father had nominated Mr Khan and that he had refused to nominate someone from the family.

He said his father was waiting for the court’s decision on his plea and was hopeful that he will get justice.

He said his father will be able to contest from the same seat in the next elections when he gets cleared by the court.

On the other hand, PTI has fielded Sheikh Rashid Ahmed’s nephew Sheikh Rashid Shafique while PPP has fielded Mukhtar Abbas for the election.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2018