LAHORE – Traders’ representatives apex body All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran, which has already three factions in provincial metropolitan, is going to be divided further as cracks appeared in APAT’s Mian Mannan Group following rumours of Naeem Mir’s rejoining Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf.

Sources from businessmen’s circle said that Naeem Mir, once big stalwart of Muslim League-Nawaz, has once again decided to join PTI since leading traders, who considered to be backbone of APAT Mannan Group in city, are forcing former PML-N information secretary to join PTI due to their resentments with the cold attitude of Sharifs with traders.

They said that Mannan is member of PML-N central executive committee and his son Irfan Mannan is special adviser to Punjab chief minister. If the central general secretary of the Mannan Group, who has stronghold in the provincial capital’s various business centres, joins a rival party of PML-N along with scores of traders, this faction of APAT will further split in two parts - the supporters of Nawaz League and the PTI.

It is to be noted that traders, regarded as natural allies of the PML-N, have already launched their own political party to contest upcoming general elections. Fed up with the existing political parties, the All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran recently launched the Tajir Awam Movement to contest general elections with a view to represent small and medium traders. Sources said that mastermind of the idea to bring traders into politics was the brainchild of disgruntled leader Naeem Mir.

The former PML-N leader had resigned in December last year from party membership in protest against humiliating and arrogant attitude of Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, sources said.

Meanwhile, a press release stated that more than 100 markets of the city, on the platform of All Pakistan Anjuman-e-Tajiran, in a meeting held on Monday to discuss the upcoming general elections in the country, have vowed not to use their association for political mileage. However, the meeting of the advisory committee of APAT advised the association’s major figures, including its general secretary, to go to national and provincial assemblies individually through elections by joining any political party to represent business community in parliament effectively.

In the meeting, the advisory committee suggested APAT general secretary to contest general elections on some party ticket (PTI) to ensure victory, so that the voice of small traders could be raised in assemblies collectively with the support of political parties.