National Assembly by-polls in Attock: PML-N nominates two against Aziz
* Final candidate to be decided at ARD meeting today
* Joint ARD-MMA candidate also possible
By Qamar Jabbar
LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has proposed Sheikh Aftab Ahmad and Malik Sohail Khan as its candidates for NA-59 Attock to contest against PML nominee Shaukat Aziz.
Both candidates will file their nomination papers on July 6, but one of them will drop out of the race after consultations with the components of the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD) and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA).
According to PML-N sources, the PML-N has offered to support the Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) candidate at NA-229 (Tharparker-1) if the latter supports the PML-N candidate in Attock.
Both PML-N nominees have a strong presence in Attock and could give Mr Aziz, the next prime minister of Pakistan provided he can get elected to the National Assembly, a tough contest.
Mr Ahmad was elected to the National Assembly at NA-41 (Attock) in 1997 with 67,054 votes. Mr Khan’s father Malik Lal Khan was elected MNA from NA-42 (Attock) at the previous general elections with 83,617 votes.
PML-N Punjab General Secretary Khawaja Saad Rafique told Daily Times that the party would reach an agreement with the PPPP for a joint candidate under the ARD. He said that the PPPP would also submit its nomination papers for NA-59, but the final decision candidate would be decided at the ARD meeting scheduled for Monday. “We will not make it a matter of prestige as the PPPP provincial leadership did in the PP-156 constituency by not supporting the PML-N’s candidate,” Mr Rafique said.
He did not rule out the possibility of cooperation with the MMA and said the PML-N would not object to a combined ARD-MMA candidate.
ARD Senior Vice-President Nawabzada Mansoor Ali Khan said the resignation of Zafarullah Jamali, nomination of Mr Aziz, rigging in the by-elections, murders of PML-N and PPPP leaders, the situation in Wana and rising crime, especially in Sui, Gwader and Quetta, would be discussed at the ARD meeting.
About a joint ARD candidate against Mr Aziz, he said the meeting would discuss the matter and try to reach a consensus.
Mr Khan said a proposal from MMA leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman for consensus candidates would also be discussed at the meeting, but added that the MMA had disappointed the ARD in the past by promising support and then backing out at the last minute.