ISLAMABAD - Sharply reacting to comments of Maryam Nawaz regarding awarding the party ticket, former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Saturday that he had never applied for party ticket in his whole political career and would do so in the future as well.

Sources in the party told The Nation that the reaction of the former federal minister on what they termed a trivial matter was not out of place as the anti-Nisar group within the party was meddling in the affairs of his (Nisar) constituency politics.

The sources further said that he had raised this issue with Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif in his Friday meeting which lasted for hours. Shehbaz advised him to keep his calm and stop giving statements assumed as “anti-party” by many in the party.

But a day after his meeting with Shehbaz, Nisar came up with a scathing criticism on all particularly Maryam Nawaz for making an issue of his party ticket for the upcoming general election.

The former federal minister, known for his dominating role in Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz due to his closeness with Sharif brothers, said that “why every now and then the issue of awarding him the party ticket for upcoming elections figured in the media, whereas he was neither dependent on the party ticket nor he had applied for the same”.

He said that it seemed as if his party ticket became the most important issue in the country and everyone was commenting on it. He made it loud and clear that neither he had applied for the party ticket in his 35-year political career nor he was dependent on it.

Maryam Nawaz responding to media questions on Saturday said that a decision to award party ticket to Nisar would be made by party Quaid Nawaz Sharif.

Nisar said that he was not dependent on the party ticket and all what he cared about was his electorate who had been standing by him since 1985 and voted him to power in all elections.

The sources in the PML-N said that the most annoying thing for Nisar was the patronage being given to Engineer Qamarul Islam Raja, a sitting party MPA from NA-52, to run the campaign for the MNA seat from the area for the next general election.

Engineer Qamarul Islam Raja had won the last elections from the area with a margin of over 30,000 votes and was quite popular in the area. He also won the elections for the provincial assembly from same constituency (PP-5) in 2008 general election.

The sources in the party said that the group within the PML-N leaning toward Maryam Nawaz had given a go-ahead to Engineer Qamarul Islam Raja to run the campaign for the National Assembly seat from the area, giving a tacit signal to Nisar that he would unlikely be given the party ticket for two National Assembly seats, as used to be the past practice.

The sources in the party further said that Qamarul Islam had been meeting clans’ chiefs and notables from the constituency comprising the Chontra-Rawat area seeking their support in upcoming elections for the National Assembly seat.

Nisar had been contesting from the constituency in the past several elections which is now ‘re-numbered’ as NA-59 from NA-52 with a few addition and deletion of union councils in the light of the fresh delimitation.

The sources in the party said that in the given situation, it is evident that certain elements in the party wanted to confine Nisar to his home constituency, NA—63 (old NA 53) comprising Taxila, Wah and Chakri.

According to the sources a lobby within the party having the backing of Maryam Nawaz was making things difficult for Nisar and was dragging him down to a level where he would himself quit the party in retaliation.

The sources told The Nation that PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif wanted him (Nisar) to keep his calm and avoid direct confrontation with the party policy and remove misunderstandings between him and party Quaid Nawaz Sharif.

But his harsh reply to the comments of Maryam Nawaz on the party ticket showed that all what Shahbaz Sharif had advised him fell on deaf ears.