Ex-MNA ditches Sharifs within 24hrs of ‘joining in’ snap
LAHORE, Sept 14: The Pakistan Muslim League-N had to face embarrassment when a former PML-Q MNA, Ahmad Raza Maneka, who had a ‘joining in’ snap with Nawaz Sharif a day earlier, on Friday met with the Chaudhry of Gujrat and was announced their party’s candidate for NA-165 (Pakpattan) in the next elections.
Mr Maneka, who got elected on a PML-Q ticket in 2002, had met with PML-N president Nawaz Sharif on Thursday.
After the meeting, the PML-N media cell was prompt to issue a press release declaring Mr Maneka had joined the party, besides issuing a picture of the both.
On Friday, however, the tables were turned on PML-N when Ahmad Raza Maneka, along with his cousin Farooq Maneka, met with PML-Q Punjab president and Deputy Prime Minister Pervaiz Elahi and reposed full confidence in the Q leadership.
What made him change his mind within just 24 hours, Mr Manika was reluctant to share with press. “I will speak to you on the issue if you call me later,” was his response to Dawn’s query in this regard.
However, a source in the PML-Q said Mr Maneka told Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and Moonis Elahi that he had visited the Sharifs to talk about an alliance of various Muslim Leagues factions, especially the ‘N’ and ‘Q’, as he believed this would brighten their chance to form government in the centre as well as some provinces following the next general election.
“Instead of issuing any statement on the issue, the PML-N media cell declared in its press release that I had joined the PML-N,” Mr Maneka was quoted as having said.
PML-Functional Punjab president Makhdoom Ahmad Mahoomd has also been making efforts for an ‘N-Q’ alliance but the differences between the Chaudhrys and Sharifs seem to have reached the point of no return.
Both sides have been demanding an apology from each others leaderships as a prerequisite for discussing an alliance.
However, PML-N Senator Pervaiz Rashid has a different story to tell about what “actually” happened in the Nawaz-Maneka meeting.
“Maneka had asked Nawaz Sharif to give him an assurance regarding party ticket for the next election and he will join the PML-N. But, Mr Sharif gave him no such assurance saying the PML-N parliamentary board will decide about it,” he said.
Then who issued the statement regarding Maneka’s joining the PML-N? Mr Rashid said: “We did not.” Despite insistence by this correspondent that the statement came from the PML-N media cell, that was responsible for issuing material for consumption of press, the PML-N senator kept sticking to his earlier stance.
The sources said PML-N candidate for NA-165 Salman Mohsin Gilani, who won the 2008 election, was not considered as strong a candidate as Mr Maneka. Under the changing political scenario in the constituency, the party wanted to retain the both to have a ‘last-minute choice option’. But, Mr Maneka did not take any chances and sought a ticket from the Q leadership that was granted. The Chaudhrys, on Friday, also issued the ticket for provincial assembly constituency PP-227 (Pakpattan) to Farooq Maneka. Mr Farooq will now contest the poll against his relative Atta Maneka, who had carved out a forward bloc in the PML-Q in Punjab Assembly.
“In fact, Farooq’s father, the late Ghulam Muhammad Maneka, had expressed his desire that he wanted his son to get elected to the assembly from Chaudhry’s party. The Chaudhrys had this in mind so they fulfilled the wish of their old friend (by awarding the ticket),” a senior Q leader said wishing anonymity.
The Chaudhrys also awarded ticket to another former MNA of their party, Peer Muhammad Shah Khagga, for NA-164. Khagga had lost to PML-N’s Mansab Ali Dogar by a narrow margin of over 1,000 votes in 2008 election.
During the meeting, Ahmad Raza Maneka, Farooq Maneka and Khagga apprised Mr Elahi of the problems in their constituencies and put forth suggestions for their solution. Strategy with regard to next general election was also discussed.
Pervaiz Elahi said the names of remaining candidates from Pakpattan district would be announced shortly.
Reposing confidence in the leadership of Chaudhry Shujat Hussain and Pervaiz Elahi, the candidates pledged ‘concerted efforts’ for making the party active in their respective constituencies.