LAHORE - Arif Sandhila, an aspirant of PML-N ticket, Thursday led his supporters to Model Town Secretariat to rally against the leadership for denying him ticket for PP-140 (Sheikhupura).

The PML-N member of the Punjab Assembly (2013-18) chained himself to register his protest for being ignored for the July 25 election despite his unmatched three-decade services.

The party has now picked Yassir Gujjar, a former councilor, for the seat. PTI has chosen Mian Khalid Mehmud for the constituency who had been defeated by 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.

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 Sandhaila 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 Kulsoom Nawaz when the former prime minister had been arrested during the Musharraf rule. Sandhaila 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.

Last week, Zaeem Qadri, who served Punjab government as spokesman for 10 years and was Auqaf Minister in Shehbaz Sharif’s cabinet, announced contesting 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”.

PTI disgruntled leaders also rallied outside the residence of their party chief in Lahore.

Reportedly, PTI workers gathered outside Imran’s residence and chanted slogans ‘Injustice within the party”. The PTI hopeful from PP-170, Saif-ur-Rehman claimed that following his appeal the party took back the ticket issued for the constituency from Aoun Chaudhry’s brother. “But instead of giving the ticket to me, it was issued to Aoun Chaudhry’s sister-in-law,” Rehman lamented.

As workers continued their protest, additional police were deployed outside Imran’s residence.

According to sources, district administration tried to keep the schedule of Imran’s visit to Lahore a secret as they expected protests from workers. “However, workers still managed to gather outside his residence,” the sources said.

Disgruntled party workers have been protesting and staging sit-ins in various cities, including outside Imran's Bani Gala residence in Islamabad, against the issuance of tickets for the General Election 2018 scheduled for July 25. One of the main issues for the workers from a number of constituencies has been the PTI leadership’s decision to award tickets to people who have joined the party recently and are considered ‘electable’.

Candidate swap plan

The PML-N is mulling swapping of NA-125 and NA-133 between Muhammad Pervez Malik and Waheel Alam Khan.

Party sources say previously it was decided that Pervez Malik will contest in NA-125 Lahore following the Party decision to shift Maryam Nawaz Sharif from this constituency to NA-127 Lahore. However, in the latest development, Pervez Malik has expressed his willingness to contest in NA-133 Lahore where Waheed Alam Khan has already been okayed for contesting the election. As such the Party is mulling swapping two seats and final decision in this regard will be taken today (Friday), say the sources.