LAHORE - The PML-N leadership has adopted a careful attitude over the tussle of Abid Shaer Ali and Rana Sanullah in Faisalabad.

As the long, drawn-out cold war between the party high rankers of Faisalabad has assumed the form of a verbal fight, the leadership wants to handle it with great care without ruffling the feathers of the stalwarts, MNA Abid Sher Ali and Rana Sana Ullah, in an attempt to save the party strength and image from any harm out of their rift.

Of late, both the leaders, after openly trading charges against each other, have unleashed a proxy war through their supporting parliamentarians.

This situation has caused concern among the party workers in the district. Sources say the workers and organisation in Faisalabad have kept the leadership abreast of the public concern which is growing on account of the tussle between the two bigwigs. The leadership is taking extreme care to save the reputation and image of the party from any harm and avoid repetition of PP-72-like situation when it faced defeat at the hands of PTI in the by-election. So the leadership has silently started a move through senior members to control the situation, asking the two leaders to at least avoid washing their dirty linen in public if they do not agree to end their differences.

State Minister for Power Abid Sher Ali and Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan have strong groups in Faisalabad and want that their own supporters should reach the parliament at the election time. And though divided in local politics, both contribute to the parliamentary strength of the party. Both faced hardships at the hands of military government of Pervez Musharraf, but showed unflinching loyalty to the Sharifs who then were in ‘exile.’ Hence they command a peculiar position in the party.

Sher Ali is well moored in the central echelon of the party while Rana Sana is a confidant and highly trusted man of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, so mudslinging on his character is felt deeply in the party.

The fresh episode of tirade against Sana has come from PML-N MPA Tahir Jamil who has levelled serious allegations of corruption against the law minister in the award of contracts. Sources close to Rana Sana say it has been done on the instigation of Sher Ali who has pitted a ‘minnow’ against Sana to stand at a higher place.

Addressing a press conference, Jamil charged the law minister with misappropriation of over Rs one billion in the development projects and threatened to submit a privilege motion in the PA against him as he was being allegedly harassed through the police.

While talking to this scribe, Rana Sana termed the allegations totally baseless and said these contracts came through DCO Noorul Ameen Mengal who is a man of integrity and has an untainted service record as a staff officer to the CM and others. The law minister said, in fact, Tahir Jamil wanted to get the contracts for his own men, and on his failure to do so he had unleashed propaganda at the behest of his master.

Rana said the chief minister, through a three-man team, had got the charges investigated, which, after three days’ exercise, found everything transparently done. Moreover, he added, there was no question of corruption when the matter was still at the tender-seeking stage.

When asked about his row with Abid Sher, he said it was because he challenged his ‘hegemony’ in the district and excelled him in performance in the party, which his rival could not tolerate.

When asked if their rift was affecting the PML-N position in Faisalabad, he said difference of opinion among the members of the same party was not unknown.