JUN 10, 2018 — In the wake of growing rifts with the party leadership, former Interior Minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) stalwart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan Sunday submitted nomination papers to contest the July 25 elections for two National Assembly and as many Punjab Assembly seats as an independent.
Former PM and party supremo Nawaz was not in favor of awarding tickets to Nisar, while party president Shahbaz Sharif was.
Nisar’s nomination papers were submitted with the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) Rawalpindi office for NA-59 Rawalpindi, NA-63 Taxila and Punjab Assembly’s PP-10 and PP-12.
The submissions were made by Nisar’s close aide as the ex-interior minister was on bed rest due to severe backache, according to sources in PML-N’s Rawalpindi chapter.
“As I have previously said, I neither expect their [PML-N] ticket nor do I need it” said Nisar in a strongly-worded statement.
“It has been my stance that neither am I a candidate for the party’s ticket nor do I need it,” he added.
PML-N faces a major challenge as the party’s top command is locked in serious differences over the award of ticket to heavyweights Nisar and Hanif Abbasi,
Both Nisar and Abbasi are regarded as close aides of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif but are not in good books of the elder Sharif who is said to be strongly opposed to awarding the tickets to the two stalwarts.
Sources said PML-N members close to the deposed prime minister – including his daughter Maryam Nawaz, Khawaja Asif and Ashan Iqbal – have advised Sharif against awarding the ticket to Nisar.
On the other hand, Shahbaz, Khawaja Saad Rafique, PML-N Punjab leader Rana Sanaullah and their aides support awarding the ticket to Nisar, it is learnt.
Members of the Sharif family – including PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, his son Hamza Shehbaz and Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz – are expected to contest elections from Lahore.
Although Nisar has filed his papers for candidature as an independent, it does not mean there is no likelihood of him being awarded a PML-N ticket, said a source.
All PML-N candidates are currently filing papers as independents, the source said. By June 25, all parties have to submit final lists of their candidates to the Election Commission of Pakistan, and that will make it clear which aspirants have been awarded the party’s ticket. Those not on the list can go on to contest the poll as independents.