ISLAMABAD - Less than 24 hours after its decision not to field party candidates in constituencies where former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is contesting elections, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz on Sunday took a summersault and announced candidates against the former party dissenter from Chakri Rajgan.

The decision came as a surprise to many as earlier PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif in a meeting with close party leaders had jubilantly announced that he had convinced party Quaid Nawaz Sharif to at least leave the constituencies open from where Nisar was in the race and that was the reason, the candidates had not been given tickets for two national and two provincial assembly seats from the constituencies.

Now, the PML-N candidates would be contesting against Nisar in all the four constituencies as the candidates’ names were formally announced.

In the NA-59 constituency, PML-N candidate Engineer Qamarul Islam would be in the field while he would also be the candidate on one of the provincial assembly seat (PP-10).

In the NA-63 constituency, PML-N’s Sardar Mumtaz Khan would face Nisar as well as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf candidate Ghulam Sarwar Khan, who is considered to be a very strong candidate, who had defeated Nisar in this constituency in 2013 general election.

Ghulam Sarwar has also filed his nomination papers from NA-59, the other constituency, from where Nisar is contesting elections. Previously in 2013, Nisar had won the seat with a huge margin on a PML-N ticket.

On another provincial assembly seat (PP-12) from where Nisar had filed his nomination papers, the PML-N has come up with a local party leader Faisal Qayyum Malik.

Sources aware of the development said that during his visit to London, Shehbaz Sharif had convinced Nawaz Sharif to show some flexibility regarding Nisar and to a great extent, he (Shehbaz) had convinced the elder Sharif in favour of his estranged comrade.

But on the same day, Nisar came up with a scathing criticism on Nawaz Sharif, particularly his remarks about his decision of imposing his daughter (Maryam Nawaz) on the party, which hurt him (Nawaz) the most and resulted in the revision of his decision.

The sources in the party said that a very strong lobby within the party was already active against Nisar and was continuously pouring venom in the ears of Nawaz Sharif against him and succeeded in creating a wedge between the two.

Furthermore, the scathing criticism of Nisar against Nawaz Sharif and his daughter added fuel to the fire and made the task of those who wanted the ouster of Nisar from the party easy.

The sources said that Shehbaz Sharif had made a last-ditch effort on Saturday and kept the constituencies, from where Nisar is contesting, open by not awarding party ticket but Nawaz Sharif refused to listen to his younger brother and made it a closed transaction.

Political analysts termed it a most difficult election for Nisar who has to fight against very strong PTI candidate Ghulam Sarwar from both NA-59 and NA-63 while he has also to face the candidates from the PML-N, a party with which he had won all the previous elections except for the non-party elections held in 1985.

Nisar was the only parliamentarian who had remained part of the National Assembly since 1985 and won all the eight elections for the National Assembly in a row from this area.


PML-N fields candidates against Nisar

Abrar Saeed