ISLAMABAD - In its bid to field a strong candidate against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in his home constituency of Mianwali, NA-71, the top leadership of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has suffered another blow as its recent offer has been turned down by Ayla Malik, a PTI leader and sister of Sumaira Malik – a PML-N candidate from Khushab.
According to a source in the PML-N, the party’s top leadership is going from pillar to post in its struggle to give Imran a tough time in his home constituency, but to no avail.
“Top PML-N leaders, through some relatives and friends of Ayla, conveyed an offer to her, asking her to contest election from NA-71 against Imran Khan while promising huge development funds and a party ticket for a reserved seat for women. However, she has flatly refused the offer,” said the source.
The source added that the Sharifs wanted to field a strong candidate from Mianwali against Imran but failed to find anyone so far. “The PML-N leadership has been perturbed and angry over Imran’s open challenge to contest election against PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif from Lahore. Different plans have been discussed to field a strong candidate from NA-71, but all have failed,” the source added.
The source further said that the PML-N had tried its best to field former Mianwali district nazim Ubaidullah Khan Shadikhel against Imran Khan. Shadikhel held two separate meetings with Sharifs in recent past at Raiwind but due to his preconditions, no headway could take place, the source added. “Shadikhel is the only candidate who can give a tough time to Imran Khan in Mianwali. His younger brother Amanatullah Khan Shadikhel had bagged 73,019 votes from the same constituency in 2008 elections as an independent candidate, whereas Inamullah Khan Niazi, the then nominee of the PML-N, had got only 2,087 votes,” said the source.
However, the source said that Ubaidullah was also seeking party ticket for his brother Amanatullah Shadikhel from PP-44, Mianwali, adding that the demand was unacceptable for the PML-N, which wants to award the party ticket to Babli Khan of Isa Khel. Babli Khan is the elder brother of sitting MPA Zakiya Shahnawaz.
On the other hand, the source added that the PML-N leadership was in a fix, as awarding the ticket to Shadikhel from PP-44 would result into another loss, as Zakiya Shahnawaz and Babli Khan have threatened to join the PTI in that case. “This is the reason why the PML-N leadership is not willing to award ticket to Shadikhels from both the constituencies. The PML-N leadership had also tried to field MNA Sumaira Malik in NA-71 to divide the vote bank of Kalabagh, but Ayla Malik remained successful in convincing her elder sister to contest from Khushab,” according to the source.
When contacted for her comments, Ayla Malik confirmed that she had been approached by the PML-N’s senior leadership with an offer of party tickets for NA-71 and on a reserved seat for women, but that she had flatly refused.
“I have told the interlocutors who contacted me on behalf of the PML-N leadership that I did not join the PTI just to reach the National Assembly. I have joined the PTI due to the ideology of the party. I have also conveyed them that I have no plans to contest election and rather I am focusing on my duty as in charge of the election campaign of the party in Mianwali,” she added.
Ayla said that she believed in politics of principles and that she would never compromise over her principles.
She said that the incumbent federal and provincial governments had made life of the ordinary citizens a hell and she was working hard to bring about a change in the country’s system.
She expressed optimism that the PTI would emerge as the leading party in the forthcoming general elections by defeating the mainstream parties which have been ruling the country for the last three decades but have done nothing for the welfare of the people, and only added more misery to the sufferings of the masses.