Mian Nawaz Sharif has decided not to contest NA-123 by-polls next month and instead nominated Pervez Malik as the PML-N candidate for what is believed to be his seat, and a taken-for-granted 'winning seat in Lahore. Pervez Malik has been chosen ostensibly for his having stood by the Sharifs through thick and thin. However, intriguingly, one of his brothers, Malik Qayyum, happens to be the former Attorney General of Pervez Musharrafthe enemywhile his sister, Yasmeen Rehman, is a twice-elected MNA of the arch rival PPP. Why is MNS himself not contesting the polls, everyone is looking askance? Is there some lurking fear of losing the contest? Or, may be, an ego problem in becoming a member of the Parliament of which he is not the leader of the house and Prime Minister of the country? Or, most importantly, is it because of that self-signed 'deal in which he had given an undertaking not to take part in politics for 10 years? The last perception is strengthened further by the fact that MNS had actually relinquished the PML-N command in favour of his brother and, thus, had become a non-entity within the party, at least legally. Whatever the reason, it is certainly a sad turn of affairs for our national politics where everything just revolves round the glory and gain of a personality cult, with no consideration whatsoever for the national cause. Nawaz Sharif should have been in the assembly to play the role of an effective Leader of Opposition for ensuring good governance. -COL. RIAZ JAFRI (RETD), Rawalpindi, February 6.