LAHORE - Muhammad Arif Khan Sundhaila, a PML-N member of the Punjab Assembly (2013-18) for PP-140 (Sheikhupura) has been ignored by the party for the July 25 election despite his unmatched three-decade services for the party and its leadership.

The party has now picked Yassir Gujjar, a former councilor, for the seat for reasons best known to the top bosses. PTI has chosen Mian Khalid Mehmud for the constituency who had been defeated by Mr Sundhaila with a margin of 31,000 votes. (Sundhaila had bagged 42,000 votes against 11,000 by Mr Mehmud).

Sundhaila, 61, who rendered valuable services for the party when it was passing through testing times, feels upset at the treatment he has received but has no plan to quit the party as such a move is against his innate nature. He also doesn’t like to speak against the leadership at any forum because of his emotional attachment with the three-time former prime minister, for whose sake he had left Paris.

Interestingly, Mr Sundhaila has been refused a ticket when Mian Nawaz Sharif had personally given him a go-ahead for campaign about a fortnight ago.

Sundhaila had met the PML-N boss at an accountability court in Islamabad just to seek his guidance for his future course of action.

Ecstatic, Sundhaila started his campaign in Sheikhupura on his return from Islamabad. But now he feels embarrassed and doesn’t know how he should face the voters and explain his case.

He has still not lost all hopes, and believes someone in the party would tell the leadership that nobody in the constituency was more suitable for the ticket.   Many people still remember how Sundhaila had come out on the streets against Gen Musharraf’s military intervention and how he had started hunger strike when Mr Sharif had been removed as party president. He had worked in close coordination with Begum Kulsoom Nawaz when the former prime minister had been arrested during the Musharraf rule.

Sundhaila was behind the bars in Mianwali when his father died and he was wearing handcuffs when he attended the funeral prayers of his father.

He had also started hunger strike when then chief minister Manzoor Wattoo had ordered removal of security barriers outside the Model Town residence of the Sharifs.