TOBA TEK SINGH: Reconciliation among different groups within the local chapters of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), has given a boost to the party nominees’ panels for two national and three provincial assembly seats in TT Singh and Gojra tehsils.

In TT Singh tehsil, the PTI had earlier nominated a former district nazim, Chaudhry Muhammad Ashfaq, who ditched the party and joined the Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party (IPP). However, as a result of changed political scenario in the backdrop of seat adjusyment between the PML-N and the IPP, Ashfaq decided to contest as an independent candidate from NA-106. The PTI, meanwhile, replaced Ashfaq with Khalid Nawaz Sadhraij, as its nominee for the NA-106.

For PP-121, the PTI retained the former MPA Saeed Ahmad Saeedi as its nominee. However, in PP-122, PTI nominee Chaudhry Muhammad Ramzan, younger brother of former governor Chauudhry Muhammad Sarwar, died and it nominated former MPA retired Brig Javed Akram, who was later arrested in a case pertaining to attack on the Jinnah House, Lahore, during May 9 riots. He is presently in the custody of army and facing a trial in a military court.

He was replaced with Sardar Khawar Sher Gadhi in PP-122.

In the latest development, on Saturday a joint meeting attended by different PTI groups was held at Rajana where Murad Akram, son of retired Brig Javed Akram, a former MPA Noor Ahmad Mahi, who now heads the group of late Chaudhry Ramzan, ex-vice chairman of district council Irfan Sipra, retired Col Saeed Akram, former district chairman of overseas Pakistanis commission, Mian Naveed Alam, two independent candidates from PP-122 -- Rana Hasan and Ms Alia Noor -- and some former UC nazims and councillors, unanimously decided to support the PTI panel for NA-106, PP-121 and PP-122.

As per local political observers, this development has strengthened the position of the PTI panel, which could now give a tough time the PML-N candidates from NA-106 and the two PA constituencies.

The PML-N has fielded former federal minister Junaid Anwar Chaudhry, ex-MPA Amjad Ali Javed and ex-provincial minister retired Col Sardar Ayub Gadhi for NA-106, PP-121 and PP-122.

A similar situation developed in Gojra tehsil, where former PTI nominees for NA-105 and PP-119 -- Barister Hassam Ali Warraich, son of late MNA Amjad Ali Warraich, and his uncle former provincial minister Bilal Asghar Waraich -- respectively, announced to support the party’s (NA-105) nominees Usama Hamza, son of ex-senator M Hamza, and Asif Ihsan Gujjar son of ex-MPA Ihsanul Haq Gujjar (from PP-119).

Usama Hamza and Asif Ihsan Gujjar were also present on this occasion.

Local political circles say this would result in strengthening of PTI candiates position in Gojra tehsil as well.

Meanwhile, in Faisalabad’s Tandlianwala tehsil a former PTI candidate from NA-97, Zulfiqar Ali Watto, has also announced to back the new party nominee, Saad Khan Baloch.

Previously, Wattoo had announced to contest the poll from the constituency in violation of the party’s decision. However, he made the announcement at a press conference in the presence of Saad Baloch and the party’s district president Adil Pervaiz Gujjar, who reportedly convinced him to abide by the party decision.

Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2024

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