RAWALPINDI, Aug 23: The former federal minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, here on Friday announced that he would contest from two constituencies of Rawalpindi city (NA-55, NA-56) as an independent candidate after PML-N refused him ticket.

“I owe this decision of running as an independent candidate to the conspiracies of Syed Zafar Ali Shah and Tanvir Chaudhry,” he said. He maintained that he tried all options of pacifying them on the instructions of PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif, but they adopted a hardline.

“Mr Shah could have contested from NA-56, but he didn’t do so and now I would chase him in NA-56 though I didn’t originally plan to contest from there,” he said.

He said the PML-N decision to refuse him ticket would have impact on the election results in the entire Rawalpindi division.

“They (PML-N candidates) cannot win, but are making an unsuccessful attempt to get me defeated,” Mr Ahmed said.

He said he had formed election committees for both the constituencies to run the election campaign. The NA-55 committee would be headed by former MPA Bashi Khan, while former Mayor Haider Ali would be its secretary.

To a question, he said all the 23 union council Nazims, who had been elected with the support of PML-N were supporting him and none had refused him support.

He parried another question regarding the support being extended by the PML-Q, he said: “Though, he has decided not to formally join PML-Q, it has been decided that the Quaid-e-Azam faction would support him and wouldn’t field any candidate against him.”

The former minister said the Sharif’s would have to finally reconcile with the armed forces.

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