ISLAMABAD: With the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leadership dragging its feet to allot party ticket to disgruntled leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan for the July 25 polls, he has decided to fight the electoral battle as an independent candidate. Once considered the PMLN’s heavyweight, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan Monday announced that he will contest elections as an independent candidate. “I will not contest polls on the PML-N’s ticket,” said Nisar, adding that the party has awarded tickets to political “orphans”.
The former minister said if he decides to open his mouth the Sharifs would not be able to show their faces anywhere. Taking a jibe at Nawaz Sharif for handing over the reins of the PML-N to his daughter Maryam Nawaz, Nisar said that the very person who was against women’s empowerment has imposed his daughter on the party. “[Whenever I want to break silence], 34-year-old association with PML-N and Nawaz Sharif comes into my mind”, asserted Nisar. “I will contest election under independent capacity. If there are ten faults in Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), then there are over hundreds in PML-N”, stated Nisar while adding that the person [Nawaz Sharif] who opposed ‘women rule’ has handed over party to his daughter [Maryam Nawaz]. Keeping verbal onslaught up, Nisar regretted that party had awarded tickets to ‘political orphans’.
Admitting that he has to burn the candles at both ends now, Nisar warned that Sharifs would not be able to face public if he breaks silence. On question about joining PTI, Nisar directed workers to pay all attention on upcoming polls.
He reiterated that he is neither applicant of party ticket nor dependent on it and advised the party high-ups sitting in Jati Umra neither make themselves a laughing stock nor insult him (Nisar) by their childish moves. He questioned that whether this remained a practice in the past to award tickets to the party veterans adding that after recovering from his illness he would reflect upon all this in detail. Chaudhary Nisar probably is the only politician in the history of Pakistan’s Parliamentary Politics who remain sat in parliament throughout his political career. And the career which spans for as long as 35 years. Since 1985, he consecutively won all the eight elections and remained a part of national assembly.
He has a history of contesting elections from NA-59 and NA-63 former NA-52 and NA-53 respectively. Particularly NA-52, now demarcated as NA-59, has an interesting past in accommodating Nisar to the National Assembly. He has been elected an MNA eight times (consecutively in 1985, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2002, 2008 and 2013 general elections) from NA-52 (Rawalpindi-III). In general election 2002, he had secured a seat in National Assembly from constituency NA-52 (Rawalpindi-III) and begged 73, 671 votes. In general elections 2008, he contested from both his favourite constituencies and succeeded but later vacated NA-52 and retained NA-53.
This time, he won with a decisive majority and successfully besought 97, 747 votes. In 2013 elections, he contested from NA-52 and re-elected to the parliament with even more bulk. He took 133, 143 votes against his relatively weak PTI opponent Lt. (Col.) Amjad Sabir who even with manage to secure 69, 769 votes while defeated in NA-53 against his PTI nominated arch rival Ghulam Sarwar Khan with a slight margin. The sources in the party informed that a strong lobby within the PML-N wanted ouster of Nisar and these people close to Nawaz Sharif have even crippled Shehbaz Sharif who despite all his efforts failed to get favour for Nisar.
That lobby was so powerful that they made Shehbaz appear before the Parliamentary Board for interview to make all options closed for Nisar who had earlier announced that he would neither apply for party ticket nor would appear before the Parliamentary Board for interview, as he had never done it in the past.
PML-N Senator Pervaiz Rashid, who came in direct conflict with Nisar and traded war of words with him, said,“Nobody is above party discipline, only those who would appear before the parliamentary board will be considered for the party ticket.” He further said that party’s stalwarts like Kh. Asif, Ahsan Iqbal, Baleeghur Rehman, Hamza Shehbaz, Maryam Nawaz and even party president Shehbaz Sharif had appeared before the Parliamentary Board for interview. A day earlier, Nisar submitted his nominations papers to a returning officer at the Rawalpindi office of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for NA-59 Rawalpindi, NA-63 Taxila and Punjab Assembly’s PP-10 and PP-12. His close aide Shaikh Aslam submitted the papers on his behalf as he was unable to drive to the ECP office owing to severe backache.
The returning officer, however, asked him to appear on June 13 for scrutiny of his nomination papers. Nisar fell out Sharif’s favour when the former became an outspoken opponent of the party’s line of action in the wake of the Panama Papers and the latter’s sever criticism of state institutions after his ouster from the office. The PML-N leader often complained of the party leadership’s not inviting him to high-level meetings and taking him in the loop while taking important decisions.