Unexpected moves: PTI’s Sarwar campaigns for PPP man in Punjab

Source:  Tribune Published in Politics on Wednesday, March 4, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is using former Punjab governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar to persuade Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) members in the Punjab Assembly to vote for the PPP Senate candidate from the province, Nadeem Afzal Chan, The Express Tribune has learnt.

According to sources, Chaudhry Sarwar, who recently joined Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), is focusing primarily on the MPAs from Faisalabad division, which is also his native town.

Sarwar first approached those MPAs who had received the PML-N ticket in the May 2013 general elections through his good offices. During the 2013 polls, Sarwar had assisted the PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif in awarding party tickets to candidates, particularly from Faisalabad division.

All Faisalabad and Gujranwala lawmakers and women MPAs have been placed in the panels reserved to vote for the PML-N’s two candidates from Karachi – Nihal Hashmi and Saleem Zia.

The MPAs said they were astonished when they received a call from Sarwar and when he asked them to vote for the PPP’s candidate. Sarwar urged the MPAs that being Punjabi, they should support a Punjabi (Chan) even if he belongs to another political party.

One of the MPAs from Vehari said Chaudhry Sarwar invited him to dinner, where he found other PML-N MPAs. He said he thanked Sarwar for his favour but politely excused from fulfilling his desire.

Sawar, after tendering resignation from Punjab’s governorship immediately joined the PTI. According to sources in the PTI, he is now playing his new role as party’s de facto president.

Chaudhry Sarwar did not attend the phone, when he was called for his version.

It is pertinent to mention that PTI has boycotted the Senate election from Punjab and its 30 MPAs will not be casting their votes.

The PPP, which has only eight MPAs in Punjab Assembly, has fielded Nadeem Afzal Chan. PML-N is hopeful to get all 11 seats of Senate from Punjab.

According to well-placed sources, MNA Hamza Shahbaz Sharif has been assigned the task to counter Sarwar’s aggressive efforts. Hamza Shahbaz will arrange two major dinners, in which all the 312 PML-N MPAs will be invited.

The MPAs, who have been approached by Chaudhry Sarwar, have also been called by Hamza Shahbaz. Hamza will remain in Punjab until March 5 Senate elections.

PML-N’s area-wise strategy

The PML-N has fielded its two candidates from Islamabad and invited all its MNAs and coalition partners for a dinner on March 4 at Punjab House.

PML-N senior leaders, including Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, will brief the MNAs about the party strategy to get their two candidates elected as senators from Islamabad.

In Balochistan, the PML-N has 22 MPAs and it has fielded six candidates to bag as many seats out of a total 12 seats for the province. The PML-N has deployed Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique to make seat adjustment and address party grievances. The PML-N’s Balochistan President Sardar Sanaullah Khan Zehri is campaigning for two of his relatives, contesting Senate polls on the party tickets.

In K-P, Governor Mehtab Khan Abbasi has been assigned the task to make sure the party gets one seat. The PML-N has fielded Salahuddin Tirmzi as its candidate from the K-P. The PML-N has 17 MPAs in the K-P Assembly.

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