News Analysis |
The disgruntled leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Zaeem Qadri lambasted former Chief Minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif, and his son Hamza Shahbaz, after being refused the National Assembly ticket from NA-133.
While addressing a presser at his Township office on Thursday in Lahore, Qadri lashed out at Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, in particular, saying that Lahore was not his or his father’s [Shehbaz Sharif] property.
He said I did not utter a word when PML-N leadership decided to field another candidate in the constituency he wanted to contest the election from. “[Going forward] I cannot polish Hamza’s boots. You may bring your boot polishers [referring to other selected candidate from his constituency] my competition is with you.”
He challenged Hamza Shehbaz that he will do the politics from Lahore and will show him [his (Qadri’s) credentials being an independent candidate].
“I stand by the workers of Punjab and Pakistan,” he said while pointing fingers at the people sitting in front of him.
“I’m not your masseur” visibly angry Qadri asserted.
Qadri also announced to contest elections as an independent candidate from NA-133 after being denied the party ticket in the constituency.
The provincial candidates from PP-166 and PP-167 are also miffed with the party leadership and have decided to contest polls as independent candidates.
Earlier, former railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique and another party leader Rana Mashhood had reached his party office in Township to persuade him to back off from his position.
But, they were unable to calm him down as the new rebel in the PML-N ranks had already adopted a principle stand to contest the elections as an independent candidate.
He blamed Hamza for awarding ticket to a candidate who is a servant of Hamza Shahbaz.
Having seen the panics in the PML-N ranks, PTI’s leader Aleem Khan was quick to offer Zaeem Qadari to join PTI to contest from Lahore, citing his dedication and political intelligence.
He also predicted that more PML-N leaders will leave the party in days to come.
Reacting on the unwanted situation, former law minister Rana Sanaullah said, it is not the first time that Qadri has expressed his grievances against the party.
Outspoken and controversial Sanaullah said the party has three tiers which decide on the ticket. It is natural that party cannot give a ticket to every aspirant and picks the best in the lot based on consensus between the parliamentary board and district councils.
Qadri even blamed party’s supreme leader Nawaz Sharif for ignoring his services for the party over the years particularly, when Sharif family was in exile in Saudi Arabia. But he made clear that he had struggled only for Mian Nawaz Sharif, not for Hamza or Shahbaz Sharif.
There is the impression in the party that he is being sidelined for siding with another high profile rebel-former Interior Minister Ch. Nisar Ali Khan.
Although Qadri has been one of the most vocal supporters of PML-N. Especially after Panama scandal, he defended Sharif family at every platform.
But Hamza seems to have offended him badly. Hamza has been in charge of Punjab affairs for some time now and has a big say in awarding tickets on both national and provisional level.
He resolves disputes and in case of any conflict of interest where local party leaders confront each other, he plays a perfect mediatory.
The bitter criticism from Zaeem Qadri was not expected. But some inner circles believe that party leadership was shown a video recording, where he was speaking against the party’s bigwigs. His remarks opened doors for another candidate from NA-133. Though, he denies such allegations and hinted to reveal what he had faced in last ten years in the party.
In last few months, countless current and ex-legislators have ditched PML-N to join PTI, particularly, in Southern Punjab. The confrontational politics of Nawaz against institutions-military establishment and judiciary convinced many leaders to join the Imran’s bandwagon after a tide and word of mouth favoring his election.
Read more: Imran open to Chaudhry Nisar joining PTI
In Pakistan’s politics, military backing plays a crucial role and has apparently become a norm and a benchmark for securing a victory. Though, the success of PPP in 2002 and its decisive victory in 2008 general elections suggests otherwise. Nevertheless, Nawaz is giving an impression that military is backing those leaving Nawaz. But in Qadri’s case, it is purely an inner rift between the senior party leaders which has resulted in Qadri’s revolt.