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RAWALPINDI: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Saturday issued show-cause notices to its four senior local leaders for not supporting party candidates in the 2018 election due to which they lost the contests.

The leaders are: Raja Jehandad Khan, Chaudhry Ayaz, Haji Zafar Iqbal and Ziaullah Shah. Two of them are members of the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board and two are former MPAs.

The decision was made at a meeting held at the residence of Senator Chaudhry Tanveer Khan.

Mayor of Rawalpindi Sardar Naseem, who is also the PML-N metropolitan president, former MNAs Malik Shakil Awan, Malik Abrar and Chaudhry Usama Tanveer also attended the meeting.

The four were given 15 days to explain their position otherwise disciplinary action would be taken against them.

If the party decides to cancel the party membership of the RCB members, they would have to vacate the seats immediately.

A senior PML-N leader told Dawn that before taking the decision the local chapter had informed the provincial and central leadership and got the go-ahead signal.

He said the PML-N leadership had asked the local leaders to submit a report in two weeks about the reasons behind the defeat of the party in the election.

He said the local chapter had been asked to collect evidence of rigging so the party would include it in its white paper which would be published next month.

He said the district administration did not provide a level-playing field to the PML-N before the election and details of workers who had been arrested were presented in the meeting.

It was decided to give shields to those workers who faced a tough time.

During the meeting, he said, the participants raised the issue of open support by some of the party leaders to other candidates.

Raja Jehandad contested the election from NA-61 as an independent candidate against Malik Abrar, Ziaullah Shah staged protest demonstrations against Malik Shakil Awan, Chaudhry Ayaz did not support Chaudhry Usama Tanveer and Haji Zafar Iqbal supported other candidates.

He said it was the first meeting after the defeat of the PML-N in Rawalpindi city and cantonment areas which had been the strongholds of the party for over 30 years. He said Senator Tanveer Khan and Mayor Sardar Naseem wanted to unite the party before going to the next local government elections.

“After the announcement by Imran Khan to change the local government system in Punjab, the party leaders started work on finalising the names of chairmen in the union councils. They also decided to get an oath from the chairmen not to change the party.”

He said in the 2015 local government election, 40 union council chairmen and vice chairmen had been elected from the city areas on PML-N tickets.

“Mayor Sardar Naseem informed the meeting that all the party members are united under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif and they will not ditch the party at this difficult time,” he said.

When contacted, former MNA Malik Abrar said the meeting was held to discuss issues regarding the 2018 election. The show-cause notices were issued to those who ditched the party, he said.

Former MNA Malik Shakil Awan also confirmed that four senior party leaders had been served with show-cause notices to explain their position. He said the party was also preparing to meet any changes to the local government system and would win against the PTI in every city of Punjab.

Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2018