BAHAWALPUR: Nawab Salahuddin Abbasi, the last ceremonial Bahawalpur Nawab of former Bahawalpur State, is still undecided to extend support to any of the candidates for NA-165.

Main contestants for the seat want the support of Nawab Abbasi to win the seat. Potential winners are Chaudhury Tariq Bashir Cheema of the PML-Q and Saood Majid Chaudhry, an N-Leaguer who is presently contesting as an independent.

Under an arrangement with PML-Q chief Shujaat Hussain, the PML-N high command did not issue ticket to Majid to accommodate Cheema. However, Saood Majid decided to have a solo flight against his arch rival, Tariq Cheema.

Sources said the PML-N promised senate ticket to Saood in the upcoming senate election in March but he did not withdraw. The Cheema lobby, however, suspects that the Sharifs did not press Saood to leave the field.

Nawab Abbasi, who is currently camping in his ancestral Sadiqgarh Palace in Dera Nawab Sahib in Ahmedpur East, was approached by a number of aspirants for support.

Different segments of society have a special regard for the Abbasi family and Nawab Salahuddin Abbasi is in a position to use his influence for the support of any candidate. Both Cheema and Saood also respect him.

Sources said first Saood Majid and then Tariq Cheema met Nawab Salahuddin Abbasi in Dera Nawab the other day to seek his moral and political support.

Dawn attempted to contact the Nawab but could not get his version.

Sources said the Nawab told them that he was here to oversee the campaign of his scion Prince Bahawal Abbas Abbasi ,who is an independent candidate from NA-166 (tehsil Ahmedpur East).

During his meeting, Cheema reportedly thanked Nawab Sahib for his political support during the 2018 election and expressed the hope that he would do it again.

In NA-166, Prince Bahawal Abbas Abbasi is contesting as an independent against PML-N’s Makhdum Samiul Hassan Gilani, PTI’s former parliamentary secretary Kanwal Shozeb and PPP’s Makhdum Ali Hassan Gilani.

Makhdum Sami Gilani was elected MNA in 2018 on PTI ticket but he voted against Imran Khan in the 2022 no-trust by the PDM. Makhdum Hassan Gilani, step-brother of Makhdum Sami Gilani, had been in the PML-N but now he is the PPP nominee.

Kanwal Shozeb has accused police of harassing her and her family.

In her statement, Kanwal alleged that a heavy contingent of police surrounded her house where she lived with her mother. She stated her mother was the widow of an army officer but was being harassed by police ,whose personnel also checked her visitors and harassed them.

She further alleged when she went to a local graveyard, she was chased by police.

On the other hand, she said residence of her rival PML-N candidate Qazi Adnan Farid remained crowded with police lending a helping hand.

Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2024

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