LAHORE: The PML-N has finalised consultation with its allies, mainly the PPP and the JUI-F, on award of tickets for by-election on three National Assembly seats in Punjab, with one seat going to the party of Bhuttos and other to the Sharifs.

The by-polls on NA-157 (Multan) will be held on Sept 11, and NA-108 (Faisalabad) and NA-118 (Nankana Sahib) on Sept 25.

According to a PML-N leader from Punjab Dawn spoke to on Wednesday, it has been decided in principle that the runner-up of these constituencies should be a joint candidate of the allies. Under this arrangement, the PPP’s candidate will run for the Multan seat whereas PML-N’s for the remaining seat.

“On Multan seat, Ali Musa Gilani, son of Senate opposition leader Yousuf Raza Gilani, will contest and the PML-N local leadership has been directed to fully support him (Musa),” he said.

PML-N’s Ghaffar Dogar had contested this seat in 2018 polls but stood third. Musa had lost to Zain Qureshi, son of PTI stalwart Shah Mahmood Qureshi, with a margin of 7,000 votes.

“The 13-party PMLN led alliance believes that it will easily manage to win this seat going by the result of the 2018 election. Musa had then got 70,000 and Dogar 60,000 votes against Zain’s bagged 77,000,” the PML-N leader said.

There are reports that Dogar is not canvassing for Musa and junior Gilani is not happy over this and complains to the PML-N leadership. Musa is facing a strong PTI candidate, Mehr Bano Qureshi, daughter of Shah Mahmood Qureshi. This seat fell vacant after Zain Qureshi won the provincial assembly seat.

For NA-118 (Nankana Sahib), PML-N’s Shezra Mansab Ali is the joint candidate. She had lost to PTI’s retired Brig Ijaz Shah with a slim margin of over 2,000 in the 2018 election. The PPP’s candidate had bagged over 18,000 votes while Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan had emerged stronger in this constituency with about 50,000 votes.

For NA-108 (Faisalabad), which was held by PTI’s Farukh Habib, Abid Sher Ali was the runner up in 2018 as he lost with a margin of 1,000 votes. But this time around Sher Ali seems to be in two minds whether to contest the by-poll or not. “In a few days the PML-N leadership will finalise the name of a suitable candidate,” the PML-N leader said.

PTI chairman Imran Khan has already announced his candidature on all nine seats that fell vacant after the acceptance of resignations of PTI MNAs by the National Assembly speaker. However, the winning candidates of PTI like Farukh Habib and Ijaz Shah have also been directed to be ready to contest in case of last minute change.

Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2022

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