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PML-N Candidate for NA-48 Against Asad Umar

ISLAMABAD, July 26: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) may be poles apart on national and international issues but when it comes to fielding candidates for NA-48 they think alike.

Both the parties’ have given tickets to outsiders for the by-election for Islamabad’s only urban area National Assembly seat.

First Imran Khan-led PTI fielded Asad Umar, a Karachiite, for the August 22 by-election and now PML-N has opted for ex-MNA Hanif Abbasi, a Pindiite, as its candidate.

According to experts, the two parties have gone for outsiders because they have no ‘suitable, strong’ local candidates for the contest. They insist the two want to win the seat vacated by Javed Hashmi of PTI in May 11 elections ‘at any cost’.

PTI’s Javed Hashmi managed to get 73,878 votes from NA-48 and PML-N’s Anjum Aqeel Khan polled 52,205 votes and third position was clinched by JI’s Mian Mohammad Aslam as he secured 25,048 votes while PPP’s Faisal Sakhi Butt got 9,178 votes.

Mr Hashmi vacated the seat as he opted for his home constituency seat from Multan.

PTI’s decision to launch an outsider in by-election created ripples in the party as former minister for state Waseem Shahzad and Dr Israr Shah were also interested in the National Assembly seat.

“The launching of Asad Umer in by-election will not create division within the party as national politics is different from the local one,” said PTI Punjab Vice President Raja Tariq Mehboob Kiani, while talking to Dawn.

He said that Asad Umer was main leader of PTI and one of the policy makers and it was necessary to bring him in National Assembly to protect to strengthen the party in the House.

“Our candidate had clean past but PML-N fielded old horse who was defeated by our party in May 11 elections and this election will not be different from that,” he said.

On Friday, the former MNA Hanif Abbasi claimed that he got the party ticket for the by-election in NA-48.

While talking to Dawn, former MNA of PML-N for NA-56, Hanif Abbasi claimed that the party gave him ticket for NA-48 bye-elections and he will contest the elections.

“I was not interested in contesting the election but the party leadership wanted to field me,” he said and added that the official letter regarding party ticket was received by him on Friday.

“I will go to the residents of Islamabad and seek vote for Nawaz Sharif. We will launch the election campaign in Islamabad soon,” he said.The potential candidate for the seat said that he was not alien to capital city as he lived in its neighbouring city and knew all the people in the constituency. “People will vote for the PML-N not for candidate as the national politics is above local politics,” he said.

However, PML-N media coordinator Asim Khan Niazi neither confirmed nor denied and said that the party would announce its decision on Sunday.

When contacted PML-N chairman Raja Zafarul Haq, he said he did not know about the decision and Mr Abbasi would better explain whether he got intimation from party leadership.

On the other hand, some PML-N leaders were of the view that the decision to field Hanif Abbasi for NA-48 would divide the party at local level.

They thought Anjum Aqeel was involved in land scam cases, therefore he was refused party ticket, but Hanif Abbasi too was involved in election related violence and much publicised ephedrine case, a PML-N leader said.

He said Barrister Zafarullah Khan, Sajjad Afzal Cheema and Ashraf Gujar were aspiring to be the PML-N candidate for this constituency.

“The party should have fielded a reasonable candidate against a person like Asad Umer who claimed to be enjoying the support of civil society in capital city,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has announced to field Faisal Sakhi Butt while Mian Mohammad Aslam will run for the seat from Jamaat-i-Islami platform.

Source: http://dawn.com/news/1032246

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