LAHORE - PML-N yesterday continued hectic activity to firm up its grip in the by-election in NA-122 and PP-147 Lahore.

PML-N candidate in NA-122 by-election, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, met Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif at Model Town to discuss with him the matters pertaining to the campaign, October 9 rally of the party in Lahore and the notices served to the three party leaders by the returning officer among other things.

It may be mentioned that the RO concerned issued notices to three main leaders of the party, Minster for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique, Benazir Income Support Programme Chairman Marvi Memon and State Minster for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali, for taking part in the campaign of Ayaz Sadiq despite the ban on government functionaries.

Khawaja Saad, while addressing media persons, interpreted the decision of Justice Ayesha Malik of LHC that she had allowed the parliamentarians to take part in the campaign. The RO has sought reply from said one for Tuesday (today).

Meanwhile, Hamza Shahbaz Sharif presided over a meeting of the party legislators deputed for electioneering for Ayaz Sadiq. The sources privy to the meeting said the pace of the campaign was discussed and satisfaction was expressed over the public support for Ayaz Sadiq. The members were assigned to further accelerate the campaign.

In another development, religious scholars and ulema from different schools of thought as well as members of interfaith harmony who have following in NA-122 in various degrees called on Hamza Shahbaz Sharif and announced to support Ayaz Sadiq in the by-election.

They included Badshahi Masjid Khateeb Maulana Abdul Khabeer Azad, Maulana Saif-us-Saif, Maulana Amjad Khan, Maulana Zuber Ahmad Zaheer, Mehdi Hassan, Dr Munawar Chand, Sardar Janam Singh, Abdul Wahab Roperi, Mufti Ashiq Hussain, Musa bin Naqvi and others.

On the occasion, Hazma Shahbaz Sharif said October 11 would end for good the politics of lies of the opponent party and the nation would continue the journey to progress and development under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif. He lauded the services of ulema for the country and said the motherland once again wanted their role in meeting the current challenges.

To a question, he said PTI leader Jahangir Tarin got loans worth millions of rupees written off while Aleem Khan, rival of Ayaz Sadiq in NA-122, belonged to Qabza mafia. He claimed the PML-N would bury the politics of qabza mafia in the Lahore election. He said the ulema had pledged to advance campaign of Ayaz Sadiq.

The ulema present at the meeting said NA-122 was a contest between the forces of good and evil as one party had religious ideology while the other promoted dance and vulgarity during the 126-day dharna in Islamabad last year. They said the ulema had decided to support PML-N after a deep consideration. They appreciated the prime minister’s efforts to set economy of the state right and expressed the hope that the difficult phase would be over during the PML-N tenure.

According to a party source, a high-level meeting of the party leadership was also held in the evening, which particularly discussed the reply to be delivered to the RO.

In another election-related activity, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq visited UC-173 of his constituency and opened 12 election offices. He visited six wards of the UC and was warmly received by a large number of people. Sardar Ayaz took round of Habibullah Road, Masjid Musafarkhana, Mayo Garden and other areas in the UC and met the people. He also met the traders and shopkeepers who promised to support him.