LAHORE – PML-Zia, which has been holding a dialogue with PML-N over seat adjustment for quite some time, has decided to take a solo flight after failing to reach an agreement with Raiwind, The Nation has learnt.
Close associates of PML-Zia chief told this correspondent on Saturday that Ijazul Haq, after failing to reach an agreement with PML-N leadership over seat adjustment in Bahawalnagar, the political bastion of PML-Z, has decided to go for a solo ride in the general elections due on May 11.
It may be mentioned here that Ijaz held his last meeting with PML-N leadership some days back, in which PML-N side was headed by Nawaz Sharif.
The aides said the PML-N asked Haq to adjust two of their candidates of the Punjab Assembly falling under the constituency of NA-191 from where Ijaz was contesting the polls and was considered to be his stronghold.
However, the PML-Zia chief politely refused to accept this proposal, as he had to lose Ghulam Murtaza Chaudhary’s group support by taking PML-N candidates of MPA in the two constituencies falling under NA-191.
They said Ghulam Murtaza group that enjoys considerable influence in Bahawalnagar allied with PML-Zia for the last 12 years and Ijaz could not afford their anger.
Ijaz offered the PML-N his support from NA-190 but political party operating from Raiwind was not interested in NA-190 and wanted seat arrangement in NA-191, while the option of NA-190 had also been closed now as Ijaz was also contesting from NA-190 after receiving no reply from the PML-N.
The local leaders when contacted said that though Ijaz being an Arain enjoys the support of strong vote bank of his clan from NA-191, however he has to win the complete support of the Jatts who control second largest vote in this constituency, adding that Arians circles more than 40 percent vote in NA-191, while the Jatts more than 35 percent and remaining number belongs to mix of other clans.
They were of the view that Afzal Sindhu being the member of the Jatt clan could emerge as a challenger to Ijaz-ul-Haq. Sindhu, formerly a PPP leader resigned from his party as a federal minister and joined the PTI after differences with the top leadership.
Close associates of Ijaz also disclosed that Alam Dad Lalika, son of late Abdul Sattar Lalika after not getting from PML-N could join the PML-Zia in a day or two and become the party candidate from NA-189 (Bahawalnagar).
The junior Lalika met with PML-N high command along with his mother some time back and was promised the party support in the general polls but later the PML-N leadership gave its support to Mumtaz Matiana who was once the PPP MNA and later district nazim Bahawalnagar overtly to counter the PML-Zia factor in this district. Matiana allied with PML-Zia during the Pervez Musharraf regime and got his nomination for district nazim Bahawalnagar with the blessings of Ijaz-ul-Haq.
Ijaz close aides informed that Dr Noor Muhammad Ghaffari, a former PML-N parliamentarian would be the PML-Zia candidate from NA-189 if Alam Dad Lalika didn’t join them.
PML-Zia chief, Ijaz-ul-Haq when contacted said, “There is no time left for adjustments and we are contesting from NA-190, 191 and 189, besides PP-281, 282, 283 and 284 without the support of any other political party”.
He added, “I am contesting elections from NA-190 and 191, while a member of the Lalika family or Dr Noor Muhammad Ghaffari will be our candidate from NA-189, besides former PML-N leader Ahmed Hassan Lakhvera will be our candidate from PP-282 we have also fielded potential contenders from PP-281, 283 and 284”.
He while saying that he lost the 2008 polls due to the Benazir Bhutto’s assassination factor, which diverted the sympathies many of the voters to the PPP claimed that this time he would not only secure his seats but PML-Zia backed candidates would also succeed.
When asked about alliance with PML-Junejo activated after the demise of Like-Minded, he said that he had a chit chat with Hamid Nasir Chattha but there was no time for electoral alliances as everybody was working in his area of political influence for the general elections .
He said, “If the Muthidda Muslim League (MML) was in place, he along with the support of other Muslim Leaguers had fielded candidates across Punjab, however due to the blunders of few in the defunct Like-Minded the MML had dispersed before achieving its target of uniting maximum factions of Muslim Leagues at a single platform.