GUJRAT: The PPP, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) have not pitched any candidate for the by-polls in NA-69 scheduled to be held on Oct 14.

The seat had been vacated by Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, who retained his provincial assembly seat of PP-30.

Although the PTI had earlier struck a seat adjustment deal with the PML-Q for the general elections, its former ticket-holder, Muhammad Afzal Gondal, has filed his nomination papers and applied for a PTI ticket for the by-polls.

However, sources in PTI say that there is no chance Mr Gondal could get the party ticket. It is also learnt that he has been contacting various parties, including the PML-N, to support him as an independent candidate against the PML-Q whose member is likely to be the joint candidate of PTI and PML-Q.

The PML-Q has already announced Moonis Elahi as its candidate whereas the PML-N has fielded former MPA Haji Imran Zafar.

None of the local PPP cadres filed their nomination papers despite being asked by the party’s Punjab President Qamar Zaman Kaira, who belongs to Gujrat district.

The PPP’s first woman candidate for NA-69, Wazirun Nisa Chaudhry, who had contested this seat in the July 25 elections, refused to contest the by-polls in protest against what she called lukewarm behaviour of the senior party leadership during the election campaign as well as in the post-election scenario.

Responding to a question, Ms Chaudhry, who had secured some 7,000 votes, said she had accepted the challenge of contesting against the Chaudhrys of PML-Q at a time when the PPP was passing through difficult times. But she claimed she did not get any support by party bigwigs in the district as well as Punjab during her campaign and nor did any senior party leader contacted her to discuss the situation.

She said no meeting had been held in the district regarding the election results and post-election scenario.

“When only one day was left to file nomination papers, I received a call from Qamar Kaira who asked me to submit my documents, but I refused and expressed my reservations over the leadership’s non-seriousness towards the party affairs in Gujrat,” she said and added that she suggested to Mr Kaira to ask the district president to search for another candidate for the by-polls.

The MMA has not pitched any candidate for the by-polls just as it did not in the general elections.

Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2018

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