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RAWALPINDI: In what seems to be a reconciliation attempt, a former MPA of the PML-N belonging to the group of disgruntled party leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan met ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Adiala jail on Thursday.

Umer Farooq contested the July 25 election for a provincial assembly seat as an independent candidate from Taxila from where Chaudhry Nisar was also a candidate for the National Assembly seat.

According to political observers, the meeting was not without the consent of Chaudhry Nisar and an attempt to bring him closer to the supreme leader of the PML-N.

Umer Farooq’s meeting was with the consent of the disgruntled party leader, observers say

After losing two NA and one provincial assembly seats, Chaudhry Nisar has gone abroad. Though he won from PA-10, he did not take oath of the provincial assembly seat.

A senior leader of the PML-N told Dawn that Chaudhry Nisar tried to meet Nawaz Sharif in Adiala Jail but the former prime minister refused to meet him. However, he said, efforts were underway to end the differences between the two old friends.

He said the PML-N wanted to participate in the by-election in Taxila and for this it wanted to bring a candidate who would be acceptable to all the groups within the party.

He said the July 25 election results showed that the division within the PML-N had affected the performance of the party as its votes were divided between Chaudhry Nisar and PML-N candidate Mumtaz Khan in the NA seat of Taxila. If their votes were combined it would have been more than that of the winning candidate.

He said Chaudhry Nisar’s close aide Umer Farooq, who contested the election as an independent candidate with the symbol of ‘Jeep’, discussed with Nawaz Sharif issues pertaining to the by-election.

He said Maryam Nawaz was also present in the meeting. PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif has also tried to convince Nawaz Sharif to unite all the groups so it could play an affective role in the opposition.

He said many PML-N leaders wanted to bring back the former interior minister to the mainstream of the party and some leaders from Murree were playing their role in this regard.

When contacted, Mr Farooq confirmed to Dawn that he met the PML-N supreme leader. However, he refused to admit that he had taken any message from Chaudhry Nisar to the former prime minister.

“I wanted to inform the PML-N leader about the local political situation for the by-election in NA-63. The party wants to end differences among different groups so its candidate will win the election.”

He said Chaudhry Nisar was abroad and had not sent any message to the PML-N supreme leader. He said there was a need to join all the scattered votes of the party in the constituency to give a tough time to the ruling PTI.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2018