LAHORE – The Pakistan Muslim League-N is taking ‘extra’ care in the selection of Lahore city candidates to protect its bastion from newly-emerged political forces.

 The Committees formed by the PML-N are interviewing candidates from the various districts and for the City, a special committee headed by Shahbaz Sharif is examining the candidates both for the National and Provincial Assembly seats. Sources say that in view of the development works carried out by the Punjab Government in the City, the party is much ahead of others, yet the party leadership is in no mood to relax and are choosing their best ones for Lahore.

Of the 13 Lahore seats, the PML-N candidates had returned to the National Assembly on 11 and two seats were grabbed by PPP candidates in the last elections. In the upcoming elections, the Party wants to improve its tally at the same time posing circumspect to the emerging power of the PTI, which had joined hand with the JI, when the PPP was already there. For the purpose of putting them again, the PML-N leadership is judging the outgoing legislators from Lahore on the basis of their integrity, performance, capability and acceptance in the public.

And possibility exists that up to five of them may not meet the yardstick and be held back from election contest on the promise of awarding them ticket in the local government polls which the party had announced to hold six months after winning the general elections.

According to the sources, in the final run, the city may have the big names like Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Shahbaz Sharif, Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Khwaja Saad Rafiq, Pervez Malik, Malik Afzal Khokhar, and Sardar Ayaz Sadiq along with fresh faces.

The party committees have interviewed new and old candidates for the city for which the final names would be unveiled on Wednesday after the same are approved by the 36-member Central Parliamentary Board headed by Nawaz Sharif.

Shahbaz Sharif has also held meeting with the candidates for Faisalabad, and Gujranwala divisions.

Sources further say that the party committee has recommended the names of former MNA Ayaz Amir and Major (r) Tahir Iqbal (the son in law of General(r) Majid Malik) to contest from Chakwal; Muhammad Abbasi for NA-56 and former MPA Sardar Nasim for NA-55 against Sheikh Rashid Ahmad from Rawalpindi. Malik Abrar has been named again for NA-54, Rawalpindi Cantt, while former leader of the Opposition of Ch Nisar Ali Khan will contest election from NA-52 and NA-53, Rawalpindi. Shahid Khaqqan Abbasi may repeat from NA 50, Murree, while former District Nazim Javed Akhlas will face the former Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf from NA-51 Gujjar Khan. 

Meanwhile, the PML-N Parliamentary Board would start a two-day sitting on Tuesday to receive the names recommended by different divisional committees for party tickets.

The Board would examine and finanlise the recommendees who then will be presented before the party head for final approval. The final list of the candidates would be unveiled at the most by Wednesday (tomorrow).

Fakhar Imam meets Shahbaz: Former Speaker National Assembly Syed Fakhar Imam who recently joined Pakistan Muslim League-N, called on the Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Monday.

Matters relating to general elections and political situation were discussed during the meeting. Shahbaz Sharif on this occasion said that the PML-N would win the forthcoming general elections with thumping majority and May 11 would be the Day of Judgment for looters, thieves and dacoits.

 He said that the Punjab government of PML-N had put the province on the road to progress and prosperity by completing record development projects in the province.

Syed Fakhar Imam said that PML-N was the only party which had full capability to overcome the challenges being faced by the country.