LAHORE - Giving a big jolt to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, a prominent leader of the party who wields considerable influence in Lahore politics has revolted.

Zaeem Hussain Qadri, who served Punjab government as spokesman for 10 years and was Auqaf Minister in Shehbaz Sharif’s cabinet, yesterday announced to contest election independently from NA-133 (Lahore) after being denied ticket by the PML-N leadership.

Addressing a press conference at his Township office, Qadri hit hard at Hamza Shehbaz – the elder son of former chief minister – saying, he “cannot polish his shoes like others are doing”.

“Lahore is not a fiefdom of Hamza or his father and he (Qadri) will face their shoe polishers in the city in the election,” he said, showing that he was particularly offended by Hamza Shehbaz.

Hamza has a big say in the matters of the former ruling party on Punjab level and is considered the heir-apparent of Shehbaz Sharif.

Zaeem Qadri appeared to convey the message that he has been victimised for siding with former Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan – who is not in the good books of Sharifs anymore.

“Ch Nisar is a big leader. Although I myself am a political orphan, I belong to a respectable family and I cannot compromise on my honour,” he told a questioner.

Qadri also announced withdrawal of his spouse Uzma Qadri from the list of PML-N women candidates on the reserved seats in the Punjab Assembly.

“My better half is a Syed Zadi (a descendant of Holy Prophet Muhammad PBUH) who detests to be enlisted among the tea servers (of Sharifs),” he remarked.

The avowed enemy of PML-N, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf took no time in offering Qadri to join them.

PTI City President Aleem Khan, recognising ‘political acumen and dedication’ the former PML-N leader, offered him contest election on PTI ticket.

Interestingly, at no stage Zaeem Qadri announced to quit the PML-N; rather, he described himself a ‘Muslim Leaguer by birth’ and rejected Hamza to be a true Muslim Leaguer.

Giving his reaction on Zaeem Qadri’s departure, PML-N senior leader Rana Sanaullah Khan said that Qadri would often express his grievances against the party men. He said multiple aspirants for the party ticket are in every constituency and the best one is picked up.

It is natural to fume for one if one does not get the ticket, he said, adding that the party leadership was addressing the complaints of ticket seekers.

Prior to his appearing before the media, a last ditch effort was made by the PML-N leaders Khwaja Saad Rafiq and Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan to mollify Qadri.

Short before the rebellious leader’s media conference, they reached at his office and took him to a separate room to persuade him to remain in the party fold.

But they failed to soothe Zaeem Qadri , whose chagrin was at a high pitch before the media. At one stage he broke in tears while counting his services to the party - particularly during Musharraf regime when the Sharifs were in exile.

Zaeem also showed a heavy heart while mentioning PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif, who, he said, never looked at him with affection over the last 10 years despite the fact he had rendered very valuable services to the party.

To a question on denying him ticket, he said the leadership believes he was not capable of meeting the election expenses.

“But the real point is the more one polishes shoes of the leaders, the closer one gets to them,” he said setting a yardstick of liking and disliking in the PML-N.

He praised Begum Kalsoom Nawaz and prayed for her life and health. The present situation would have not occurred had she been here, he added.

Zaeem Qadri said now he and his friends have to decide their course as they cannot become shoe polishers and ‘malishyas’ (masseurs) of Hamza Shahbaz whom he would show what politics means in the next election.

Qadri said he was a Syed Zada and would lay down his life but not sell out his honour. He said he suffered jails and hardships for the party and revived it during the worst days of dictatorship but he did not get any reward in the end.

“I have run out of patience from the treatment I have received”. He said his election contest will be against Hamza, who has ‘malishayas’ and boot polishers around him.

He said now he would reach out to those whose ‘skins were peeled’ and would also disclose from time to time what he himself faced over the last 10 years.

Warning of strict response, he said, he uses decent language for everyone and if anyone else used indecent words for him he would be paid back in the same coin.

To a question he said Khwaja Saad had promised him to address his grievances but he rejected the offer.



Zaeem Qadri revolts

against Sharifs