LAHORE, March 29: PMLQ leader Chaudhry Moonis Elahi will not contest from Lahore constituency of the Punjab Assembly (PP-152) after reaching an understanding with the PPP for PP-118 (Mandi Bahauddin).
The PML-Q has reportedly also agreed to support the PPP candidates on all the 13 National Assembly seats of the provincial metropolis.
However, of the 25 Punjab Assembly seats, the PML-Q is interested in fielding its candidates against half-a-dozen constituencies.
But the final decision will be taken after the candidates of both the parties file their nomination papers. Moonis, the son of former deputy prime minister Pervaiz Elahi, will also run for his hometown seat PP-110 (Gujrat).
“During the recent seat-adjustment talks, the PPP had agreed to award PP-118 to Moonis in place of Maj Zulfiqar Gondal (retired),” a member of the PML-Q parliamentary board told Dawn. Mr Gondal was the PPP parliamentary leader in the last provincial assembly.
The PPP’s decision to withdraw Zulifqar Gondal in favour of Moonis shows that it is not taking any chances to lose the PML-Q at this juncture and is keen to go into the May 11 election jointly.
“It is the party decision and I will fully support Mr Moonis,” Zulfiqar Gondal, who is the brother of former PPP minister Nazar Gondal, told Dawn. He said he was not going to run for any other seat.
“It does not mean that I am not happy over the decision. In fact, I want to concentrate on NA-109, the constituency of my brother (Nazar),” he said.
In the last election, Moonis had a close contest with PMLN’s Dr Saeed Elahi for PP-152 and lost with a margin of 2,000 votes.
“Yes there was a pressure on Moonis from the constituency voters to contest from PP-152 but he told them that he could not spare time to shuttle between three constituencies – Lahore, Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin - simultaneously,” the PML-Q parliamentary board member said.
When asked whether Moonis had ‘any chances’ of winning this seat, the Q leader said: “In politics you cannot predict. A joint candidate of PPP-Q with the PTI factor, this seat can go to any party,” he said.
On the other hand, Dr Saeed Elahi who is likely candidate of the PML-N sees no hurdle in his way to reclaim PP-152, which comprises Gulberg, Model Town and
Garden Town areas. “No party has potential candidate in this constituency and the PML-N like other constituencies will have no real contest here,” he said.
Dr Elahi who also applied for NA-126 claimed that the PPP-Q had decided to support PTI nominees on certain seats where the alliance had weak candidates.
PPP leader Ijaz Gill who put up a good show (for PP-152) last time has not filed his nomination papers on the ‘order’ of the leadership.
The PPP is fielding a new face, Javed Akhtar, for the seat. PTI leaders Hafiz Farhar Abbas, Murad Ras and others have applied for this constituency as well. Meanwhile, the PMLQ leader further said his party had agreed not to field a single candidate against the 13 NA seats in Lahore.
“We will support the PPP on all NA seats in Lahore. We have so far finalized three candidates – Yousuf Ahad Malik, Habibullah Bhatti and Sirosh Tahir – for the PA seats from Lahore,” he added.The PPP has awarded NA seats to Khurram Latif Khosa (NA-127), Malik Imtiaz Awan (NA-120), Tariq Mahmoodul Hasan (NA-122), Bushra Aitzaz (NA-124), Munawar Anjum (NA-126), Malik Sohail (NA-119), Samina Ghurki (NA-130) Navid Chaudhry (NA-125), Asif Hashmi (NA-118), Tariq Shabbir Mayo (NA-129), Azizur Rehman Chan (NA-123), Auranzeb Burki (NA-121) and Amjad Jatt (128).