Azeem Lakhvi meets Pervaiz Elahi PML-Q ropes in another electable
LAHORE, Sept 8: A potential candidate of a Kasur’s constituency, Dr Azeemuddin Zahid Lakhvi, has joined the PML-Q, raising the prospect of its alliance with the Jamiat Ahle Hadith in the coming general election.
Mr Lakhvi’s entry in ‘Q’ will also set an interesting contest on NA-140 in the coming election where Sardar Assef Ahmad Ali and Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri are PTI ticket aspirants, while Malik Rashid is PML-N’s candidate.
Mr Lakhvi had contested the last by-election earlier this year as an independent candidate and lost to the PML-N’s Malik Rashid with a narrow margin of 89 votes.
Being the son of prominent religious and political leader of the country, the late Maulana Moinuddin Lakhvi, Dr Azeemuddin Lakhvi has a huge following in the constituency. He contested the 2008 elections on a PML-N ticket.
In February 2012 by-poll in NA-140 vacated by Sardar Assef Ahmad Ali who joined the PTI, the PML-N leadership showed reluctance in re-awarding ticket to Mr Lakhvi as another strong candidate of the constituency, Malik Rashid of the PML-Q, had joined it. Rashid after winning the election joined the PML-N.
Both the PML-Q and the PPP were keen to woo Mr Lakhvi in the absence of a potential candidate there. But he has preferred shaking hands with the Chaudhrys of Gujrat for what he says their good reputation of not leaving their friends.
“I had offers from the PPP, the PML-Q and the PTI, but I preferred to go along with the Chaudhrys as they have a reputation of not ditching their friends unlike the Sharifs,” Mr Lakhvi told Dawn.
Like Dost Muhammad Khosa, former Punjab chief minister, Mr Lakhvi has also issues with the Punjab PML-N president and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. “I have remained with the PML-N through thick and thin but its leadership, especially Shahbaz, did not
respect the relation. The senior party leadership had wanted re-award of ticket to me in the by-poll, but Shahbaz smartly fielded Malik Rashid,” he said, adding the PML-N would suffer a defeat in the coming election primarily because of its leadership’s “dictatorship and arrogance”.
On the other hand, a senior PML-Q leader told Dawn the Chaudhrys had assured Mr Lakhvi that the PPP would not field a candidate against him in the coming election.
“The religious parties and their leaders are more comfortable with the PML-Q than the PPP. Lakhvi’s entry in ‘Q’ will help cement its relations with the religious vote,” he said.
The Q leader further said in the constituencies where the PML-N and the PTI had finalised their candidates, the potential independents would prefer the ‘Q’ over the PPP.
PML-N Senator Pervaiz Rashid told this correspondent that differences cropped up between his party and Mr Lakhvi some one-and-a-half-years ago.
“As Malik Rashid is our candidate for NA-140, he had to join either PML-Q or the PPP,” he said.
“The departure of Mr Lakhvi will have no impact on the PML-N relations with the Jamiat Ahle Hadith,” he expressed the hope.
Recently, another potential candidate on NA-138 (Kasur) also returned to Q from the PTI while on NA-139 Chaudhry Manzoor is PPP’s strong candidate. After Lakhvi’s joining, the Q believes that the PPP-Q alliance is in good position to grab most seats of national and provincial assemblies in Kasur. Former MNA Shahid Manzoor Gill and his brother ex-MPA Javed Gill from Sheikhupura are expected to announce their rejoining of Q on Sunday (today).
Meanwhile, Mr Lakhvi called on PML-Q Punjab president and Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and Moonis Elahi at their Gulberg residence. Mr Lakhvi was accompanied by Jamiat Ahle Hadith Kasur district amir Ziaur Rahman Bokhari and a good number of his party office-bearers.
Pervaiz Elahi said Dr Azeemuddin and Sardar Waqas Moakal would be Q’s candidates from NA-140 and PP-180 (Kasur), respectively. Moakal is the son of former deputy speaker of the Punjab Assembly and former provincial minister late Sardar Hasan Akhtar Moakal.
“From now on Jamiat Ahle Hadith will be an ally of our party across the country. Joining of Dr Azeemuddin Lakhvi will further strengthen the PML,” he said.