Home Global Village Jhelum dethroned its king: Nawaz Show, a major flop

Jhelum dethroned its king: Nawaz Show, a major flop

Jhelum, once considered the home of Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz, gave a lukewarm response to deposed premier Nawaz Sharif. Traditional fervor and enthusiasm for the PML-N’s supreme leader was missing, and Jhelum’s public rejected Nawaz in a big way.

Jhelum
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Waqas Shabbir |

Jhelum, once considered the home of Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz, gave a lukewarm response to deposed premier Nawaz Sharif. Traditional fervor and enthusiasm for the PML-N’s supreme leader was missing, and Jhelum’s public rejected Nawaz in a big way.

Jhelum has two sitting MNA’s, elected from NA-62 and NA-63 constituencies. The old constituencies of NA-62 and NA-63 are now changed to NA-66 Jhelum-I and NA-67 Jhelum –II under the final delimitation 2018.

Order from local leadership was simple. Two big-wigs of the district, Nawabzada family and Gujjars vowed to keep aside the differences to welcome Nawaz in a big way. Party groups in Jhelum made efforts to show the street power of N-league in Jhelum but it flopped badly.

Though Nawaz has been successful in pulling huge crowds since he started his post disqualification campaign, in Jhelum, there was no buyer of Nawaz’s narrative of victimhood and slogan of ‘sanctity of vote’.

After being denied a permit to hold the Jalsa in the middle of the city’s famous Shandar chowk, which would have brought the city to stand still, city administration had allowed the local leadership to conduct the gathering in Zamir Jaffri Cricket Stadium.

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To make things easy, local leadership had selected only the inner boundary of the cricket stadium-which is nearly 100 meters into the stadium from main gate. Even within the inner boundary, the administration had very cleverly only placed the chairs in a short longitudinal area, ensuring huge distance between rows. According to the management, 5,000 chairs were placed for the participants.

Initially, it was reported that Jalsa will start at 3:00 pm, but neither local leadership nor the supporters turned up to the venue. Time of the gathering was changed to 6:00 pm.. Local leadership was present after 6:00 pm, however, surprisingly; people were nowhere to be seen. Much to the relief of the organizers, a small group of people started to reach the venue. Around 7 pm, the stadium had some people, but it was not up to the expectations.

Despite having the two sitting MNA’s, PML-N was unable to fill-in even the 5,000 seats. Around 7:30 pm, organizers did something extraordinary and started collecting the chairs placed on the right side of the stage. GVS spoke to organizers and enquired about the move. To which the organizers said that local MNA’s sitting on the stage had ordered to remove the chairs, presumably to avoid empty chairs being noticed by PML-N senior leadership.

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PTI has made inroads in Jhelum. The apparent in-fight between the different groups of the party [PML-N] is costing it dearly. Different sources suggest that MNA Matloob Mehdi-MNA from NA-63 had asked each chairman of the union council to bring between 1,000-2,000 people to the venue but was unable to persuade people.

Jhelum has two sitting MNA’s, elected from NA-62 and NA-63 constituencies. The old constituencies of NA-62 and NA-63 are now changed to NA-66 Jhelum-I and NA-67 Jhelum –II under the final delimitation 2018.

Similarly, Gujjar family had promised in the meeting held at the Matloob’s residence that from NA-62, [from where Chaudhary Khadim Hussain is the MNA], each union council in Jhelum and Dina would bring 1000 people. Moreover, distant councils situated in outskirts of Jhelum had confirmed minimum 300-500 people. Ex-MPA Chaudhary Nadeem Khadim, son of Hussain had confirmed the tasks assigned to union councils in NA-62. Both sets of the groups command respect in the constituency and have huge family vote bank in different ‘locations of influence’.

However, party ticket for MNA remains an issue for Gujjars. Chaudhary Khadim Hussain will not be contesting the next elections from NA-62. Nawabzada Matloob Mehdi will be a PML-N candidate from NA-63 against PTI’s Chaudhary Fawad, who lost to the former in 2016 by-elections.

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Fawad Chaudhry under PTI ‘slogan of change’ collected 73819 votes which were 117% more than the [34072] votes he managed in general elections of 2013 from PML-Q platform. Mehdi expects to secure a ticket easily but Gujjars are not sure about it. There are speculations that General (retd) Azhar Kiani group might be favored against Gujjars.

But Nawaz’s arrival at Gujjar residence may have to brighten their chances because Nawaz said to have praised the Gujjars for their services to the party. Before arriving at the venue, Nawaz was present at Chaudhary house for half an hour, where he held a meeting with the local leadership of the area.

Though, during a party meeting prior to the Jhelum Jalsa, bother Gujjars and Nawabzada had sorted out the differences to put up a great show it did not work. Moreover, there was no presence from Dina. Mahar Muhammad Fayyaz, elected MPA of Punjab Assembly from PP-25 Jhelum-II in the general election 2013, did not participate in the jalsa. Even the Union Council chairman from Dina gave it a miss.

GVS spoke to organizers and enquired about the move. To which the organizers said that local MNA’s sitting on the stage had ordered to remove the chairs, presumably to avoid empty chairs being noticed by PML-N senior leadership.

Another veteran leader Raja Afzal, who once was the closest ally of Nawaz despite joining N-league after short-lived stays with PPP and PTI gave it a miss. Moreover, within the city, PTI had outperformed PML-N in 2016-by-elections, which could be a reason for such low numbers.  But, in outskirts, PML-N was stronger and majority of participants were from villages across Jhelum.

PML-N hardcore voters are blaming the rainy weather for the poor show. But it can easily be brushed off as a lame excuse, given the fact that despite having two sitting MNA’s, PML-N local leadership failed to bring people to the venue. And light rain only came down after Nawaz started his speech.

Read more: Jhelum symbolizes all that could go wrong with PTI politics

Though Nawaz has been successful in pulling huge crowds since he started his post disqualification campaign, in Jhelum, there was no buyer of Nawaz’s narrative of victimhood and slogan of ‘sanctity of vote’.

He wants to make a comeback to the power after winning the majority in next elections. But, Jhelum failed to turn-up. No solidarity was shown. The man who ruled Jhelum for decades and enjoyed unparalleled support may have witnessed a crumbling empire. King is yet to admit, but Jhelum dethroned him on Monday.

Waqas Shabbir is a Derby Business School graduate in Finance, currently working as a freelance writer. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect GVS editorial policy.


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3 COMMENTS

  1. Waqas Shabbir it’s a long time since I have read an interesting and intelligent article on Jhelum politics.
    Well done.

  2. Nawaz adminstration had contact Malik Hanif Awan to come to attend the Jalsa. Malik Hanif Awan is a realy public attraction in tehsil sarai-alamgir. But Mr. Awan did not go to the Jalsa, which I believe also played a role in this jalsa not succeeding.

    • Rumors are Malik saab is going to leave the PML-N, thats why he did not come. If Malik saab leaves noon, then surly noon will lose its strong hold in Gujrat.

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