PML-N groups fail to shun differencesArchive
RAWALPINDI: Though the leadership claims that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) stands united in the garrison city ahead of the forthcoming local government elections, ground realities seem to be just the opposite.
Punjab Labour Minister Raja Ashfaq Sarwar held a meeting and a press conference on July 22 where he claimed that there were no differences within the party.
But Senator Chauhdry Tanveer Khan, the leader of the main group of the PML-N from the urban and rural union councils, was not there while two other groups each led by Sardar Naseem and Hanif Abbasi were present. The party’s local leaders said both the groups refused to shun their differences.
The PML-N formed a two-member committee, comprising Khawaja Saad Rafique and Chaudhry Jaffar Iqbal, at the Punjab level to resolve disputes among different groups over the names of the candidates for the LG polls.
At the local level, the PML-N is divided in three groups, each led by Sardar Naseem, Hanif Abbasi and Chaudhry Tanveer. But the Punjab minister for labour called leaders of only two groups - Sardar Naseem and Hanif Abbasi – to the meeting. Apparently, the meeting was held to end the differences between the two groups.
A senior PML-N leader told Dawn that after the success of the party in the cantonment elections, its Punjab chapter feared that Chaudhry Tanveer might take over the party’s local chapter. So arrangements were made to make a patch-up between the two other groups.
“The seat of mayor is the main bone of contention between the local leaders of the party. Sardar Naseem and Hanif Abbasi want to bring the mayor from their groups and they are apparently trying to join hands against Chaudhry Tanveer group.”
He said Chaudhry Tanveer was not included in the committee formed to finalise the names of the candidates even in his own constituency - NA-52 - because Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was selected from this constituency and was supposed to give the final names.
He said Sardar Naseem and the group of the old PML-N local leaders, including former MNA Haji Pervaiz and Malik Shakil Awan, were also not included in the committee for NA-56 of Hanif Abbasi.
He said the old PML-N leaders were already annoyed with the party for making Hanif Abbasi as the chairman of the metro bus project implementation committee.
“One could see his projection on the occasion of the metro bus service inauguration due to which the other leaders felt discriminated against,” he said.
When contacted, PML-N City president Sardar Naseem said they had joined hands for the success of the party in the upcoming local government elections.
He said there were no differences in the party and all the decisions for the local government elections would be taken in consultation with the local chapter of the PML-N. He said the party had invited applications for the tickets and fixed August 1 as the last date.
“All the applications will be given to the party district and city presidents who will forward them to the relevant committees in each of the National Assembly constituencies.”
He said party leaders who rendered sacrifices, especially from 1999 military coup to the restoration of democracy in 2008, would be given priority.
Former MNA Malik Shakil Awan admitted that there were differences in the party which may affect the election results in the city. He said the party had already lost one seat in the cantonment areas due to the groupings. The PML-N wants to end the differences among the local leaders, but it should treat all the local leaders equally, he added.
Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2015
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