ISLAMABAD, March 1: Lawmaker and well-known columnist Ayaz Amir who had bagged record 125,437 votes in the 2008 elections as the PML-N candidate for NA-60 (Chakwal-I) is nowadays facing stiff opposition in his party.

According to sources, heavyweights in the party are strongly opposing Mr Amir and there is strong likelihood that he will not be awarded a party ticket.

Because of his independent thinking, Mr Amir has never been liked much in the party. Only recently, he earned ire of the party leadership when he submitted a dissenting note against the bill on the Defence Housing Authority in Islamabad. The PML-N had voted for the bill.

Khwaja Asif, who is said to be close to party chief Mian Nawaz Sharif, is supporting a former district nazim of Chakwal for the NA-60 seat. The leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, another influential leader, is backing Gen (retd) Majeed, who wants the ticket for his son-in-law.

A party source close to the development told Dawn that at the moment Sardar Abbas appeared to be the front-runner for the PML-N ticket in NA-60.

“Mr Abbas does not just have a strong backing from Khwaja Asif, but Mian Mohammad Mansha, a business tycoon, is also pushing for him,” said the source.

However, Achilles’ heel for Mr Abbas is that he has served as the district nazim with the outright support of PML-Q under Gen Musharraf. Sardar Ghulam Abbas, who earlier used the title of Chaudhry with his name, had also been associated with the PPP during the 90s.

Chaudhry Nisar is also known for his assertiveness within the party affairs as far as award of party tickets is concerned.

Chaudhry Nisar’s vote is definitely for Gen Majeed, who had served as a powerful federal minister with Mian Nawaz Sharif.

But again, his son-in-law Maj (retd) Tahir Iqbal after winning election from the same constituency of NA-60 as a PML-Q candidate in 2002 elections had served as the state minister for environment from 2002 to 2007.

“It will be very difficult for the party leadership to confront both Mr Asif and Chaudhry Nisar,” argued the party source.

Differences between Khawaja Asif and Chaudhry Nisar within the PML-N is also an open secret, hence, it will be a tough call for the party leadership to create consensus among the two over one candidate.

Talking to Dawn, Mr Amir, however, said he was very much a part of the PML-N.

When asked about chances of him getting party ticket in NA-60, Mr Amir said this was something which the party leadership had to decide.