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NA-108 by-poll: PML-N wooing its disgruntled leaders in Mandi Bahauddin

NA-108 by-poll: PML-N wooing its disgruntled leaders in Mandi Bahauddin

GUJRAT: The ruling PML-N has started wooing its disgruntled leaders in Mandi Bahauddin district back into party fold to strengthen its position ahead of the by-election in NA-108.

The seat got vacated due to disqualification of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf MNA Ijaz Chaudhry over fake graduation degree and concealment of assets.

According to sources, senior PML-N leadership has contacted one of its former MPA, Dewan Mushtaq Ahmed, who had joined the PTI around six months ago. The supporters of Ijaz Chaudhary who had joined the PTI had also been approached by the PML-N during the last two days to win back their support for the party candidate, Mumtaz Ahmed Tarrar.

In the political arena of the NA-108, where by-election is scheduled for June 8, former PPP MPA from Mandi Bahauddin city Tariq Mehmood Sahi is likely to join the PTI since his rival Dewan Mushtaq is expected to rejoin the PML-N.

Following submission of their nomination papers, the political parties and their candidates have formally kicked off their election campaigns for the by-election.

The PTI has awarded ticket to a former PPP MNA Tariq Tarrar of Raika whereas the PPP’s nominee is former MPA Asif Basheer Bhagat. PML-Q announced Hamza Nasir Iqbal as its candidate while the Jamat-i-Islami nominated Riaq Farooq Sahi. Pakistan Awami Tehreek has fielded Azam Gujjar. Total 16 aspirants are contesting the by-poll.

Dewan Mushtaq Ahmed, who had been the Mandi Bahauddin district president of PML-N and rendered sacrifices for the party during Musharraf regime, confirmed to Dawn that the PML N leadership had contacted him to woo him back in the party folds. However, he said that he had not yet taken a decision in this regard and was consulting his supporters.

Sources said Punjab chief minister’s son Hamza Shahbaz Sharif had made a telephonic call to Mr Dewan and commended his services for the PML-N. Hamza offered Mr Dewan the slot of district president of the ruling party.

Mr Dewan had got annoyed when the PML-N allotted ticket to his arch rival Hameeda Waheedudin, ignoring his commitment to the party. Ms Waheedudin has been provincial minister in Shahbaz Sharif’s cabinet.

On the other hand, sources in PTI said the former PPP MPA, Tariq Sahi, had held meetings with a senior party leader and then convened a meeting of his supporters on May 12 to consult them with regard to joining Imran Khan. PTI senior vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi was also expected to arrive, the sources added.

Mr Qureshi is also said to be behind former PPP MNA Tariq Tarrar’s joining of the PTI.

Sources said another former MNA of PPP, Zafarullah Tarrar, who was PTI nominee in 2013 general elections will announce his group’s support for the PTI candidate Tariq Tarar on Thursday (today).

It is learnt that Ijaz Chaudhary’s supporters are also likely to hold a news conference on Thursday to announce their future course of action.

The provincial Emir of JI and its parliamentary leader in Punjab Assembly, Dr Waseem Akhtar, former JI MNA and central naib emir Mian Muhammad Aslam,

Emirul Azeem and other senior leaders visited Phalia on Tuesday to discuss the strategy for the by-poll campaign of the party nominee Riaz Farooq Sahi who had secured some 18,000 votes in the last general elections.

Published in Dawn, May 7th, 2015

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