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August 23, 2012

‘Q’ losers lobbying for PTI ticket from Lahore


August 23, 2012

Most of the PML-Q turncoats and losers of 2008 general elections are now actively lobbying to get the PTI ticket for the upcoming elections from Lahore.
In the post-October 30 scenario when PTI successfully showed its public power for the first time in Lahore, a number of former Q leaguers and staunch supporter of none other than former President Musharraf from different parts of Punjab joined Imran Khan’s bandwagon. Afterwards, most of the PML-Q ticket holders from the city of Lahore, the PTI headquarters, also followed suit.
Interestingly, now most of the former Q leaguers, who faced massive defeats in last polls – including Mian Azhar, Abdul Aleem Khan, Mian Hamid Meraj, Mansha Sindhu – are now leading the race to get the PTI ticket from different seats of Lahore. Though the PTI leadership still claims that it has not taken any decision yet to award party tickets, and that all decisions will be taken after thorough consultations, the former Q leaguers who are now part of PTI are active in public contact campaign wooing their supporters for the upcoming polls.
Abdul Aleem Khan, former IT minister of Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi is the first such example. Aleem made his debut in election politics in 2002 elections from NA-127 as the PML-Q candidate but lost to Dr Tahir ul Qadri in his first combat. Against 24,949 votes of Dr Tahir ul Qadri, Abdul Aleem Khan got 20,545 votes.
Luckily, Abdul Aleem Khan got another chance soon and managed to get the PML-Q ticket on the provincial seat vacated by PML-N’s Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, winning the by-election against Ameer ul Azeem and Zaeem Qadri from PP-147.
Aleem Khan was also inducted as a minister in the cabinet of Pervaiz Elahi and remained a staunch PML-Q member. His successful lobbying for his close relative Faraz Chaudhry also brought him the ticket of Gulberg Town Nazim and the group won the election. Nevertheless, in the 2008 elections, Aleem Khan, who was dubbed as one of the most

favorite candidate of the PML-Q, witnessed a massive defeat from both seats he was contesting for.
From NA-127, Abdul Aleem Khan witnessed a defeat of nearly 40, 000 votes in the hands of PML-N Naseer Ahmed Bhutta. Naseer Bhutta got 53602 votes whereas Abdul Aleem Khan, the runner up the 2002 polls from that seat stood at number three with 13707 votes.
On the provincial seat of PP-147, situation also remained unfavourble for Abdul Aleem Khan who lost the election from a margin of nearly 20, 000 votes against a debutant Mohsin Latif, the candidate of PML-N. Mohsin Latif bagged 29 820 votes whereas Aleem Khan, standing at number three position got 9493 votes.
After joining PTI in the post October 30 scenario, Aleem Khan has once again got active to get the party ticket from PP-147. He is seen holding regular meetings with his supporters in the constituency and, according to sources, he is likely to get the party ticket, keeping in view his last 10 years experience of election politics.
Former Punjab governor and ex-president of Muslim League, Mian Mohammed Azhar is also the part of PTI now and is lobbying for two party tickets – one for himself and the other for his son, Hammad Azhar.
Insiders in the party revealed that he wanted to contest once again from NA-118, Lahore 1, the seat from where he won in 1997 when it was NA-92 but later lost two polls in 2002 and 2008.
In the 2002 elections when Mian Azhar was leading the King’s party of the time, he witnessed a dramatic defeat at the hands of a PML-N- and JI-backed candidate Hafiz Salman Butt from NA-118. The latter got 25,484 votes whereas Mian Azhar was number two, with 21,641 votes.
In the 2008 elections which were held in the presence of Sharifs in Pakistan, the chances of Mian Azhar’s victory were diminished and he lost the polls in the hands of Malik Riaz, the PML-N candidate who even once remained MPA under Mian Azhar in 1997. Malik Riaz of PML-N from NA-118 defeated Mian Azhar with a margin of nearly 44, 000 votes.
The election result of NA-118 in 2008 was: Malik Riaz of PML-N: 55900 votes. Syed Asif Hashmi of PPP: 24712 votes and Mian Azhar of PML-Q: 11075 votes.
Besides, he wanted to pitch his son Mian Hammad Azhar from NA-121, the seat of Lahore which has dominance of voters from Arain clan.
Another former Q leaguer from Shalamar Town, Mian Hamid Meraj, is also active to get NA-123 ticket. Son of former provincial minister Mian Meraj Din, Hamid Meraj remained part of PML-Q for almost a decade and contested three polls but remained unsuccessful. In the 2001 local body elections, Mian Hamid Meraj lost the election of union council (UC) Nazim. In the 2002 general elections, he was awarded ticket from PP-144 but lost to PML-N’s Chaudhry Akram Gujjer.
Hamid Meraj joined PTI after 2008 and was awarded the PTI ticket from NA-123. Though he lost to Pervaiz Malik with a big margin, the PTI rejected the polls results and leveled rigging charges against the PML-N.
Hamid Meraj is also in the race for getting ticket from NA-123.
Mansha Sindhu, a former MPA of PML-Q from Lahore, has also joined the PTI and is active in the party affairs.
What surprises most of the old party workers of Lahore is the constant campaign of the group of Malik Karamat Khokher and his close relative Zaheer Abbas. Former PPP MPA and runner up of last general election from NA-128, Karamat Khokher has joined PTI along with his entire influential group of the constituency. His close relative Zaheer Abbas Khokher won from NA-128 in the 2002 general elections on PPP ticket but joined PPP-Patriot, a rebel group of party which later merged into PML-Q. In the 2008 elections, Karamat Khokher, the head of this group along with Zaheer Abbas joined PTI. Zaheer Abbas also contested a by-election on PTI ticket from PP-160. According to PTI claims, he had defeated PML-N with big margin but the ruling party rigged the elections.
Now Zaheer Abbas is a confirmed candidate of PTI from the constituency in the upcoming elections. The joining of another PML-Q group, led by former Town Nazim and MNA Sardar Kamil Umar has also strengthened the position of party. Aqil Umer, brother of Kamil Umer, contested the election on PML-Q ticket from NA-128.

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