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PML-N influential groups prevail: Workers ‘ignored’ for women’s reserved seats

LAHORE: Facing difficulties in finalising candidates for certain constituencies, mostly in Lahore, PML-N President Nawaz Sharif has extended deliberations of the central parliamentary board up to Tuesday (April 2), it is learnt.

On Saturday, the PML-N board completed the list of aspirants for women’s reserved seats both in national and provincial assemblies.

A party official claimed that certain ‘political families’ grabbed most of the seats ignoring workers who had been in the forefront in the struggle for democracy in the country.

A source privy to the list said Begum Ishrat Ashraf and her daughter Zaib Jafar were nominated for women reserved seats in the National Assembly. Zaib’s father, Chaudhry Jafar Iqbal, has already been elected a Senator on the PML-N ticket.

Similarly, PML-N chairman and Senator Raja Zafarul Haq’s niece had also been included in the list, besides Ms Ghazala Saad, wife of ex-MNA Khwaja Saad Rafiq.

Ms Ghazala had served as a Punjab Assembly member on a reserved seat in the previous term, while Khwaja Saad’s brother Salman Rafiq had also been elected to the provincial assembly on a general seat and had been advisor to the chief minister on health.

Mr Saad had been claiming in various talk shows that he would not seek representation for his family, which he said was over-represented to negate the impression that only a few families were holding a sway in the PML-N.

It is also learnt PDP general secretary Arshad Chaudhry’s wife and mother of an influential officer in the establishment had also been included in the list.

The source also claimed that the party leadership had prepared a list of candidates for all national and Punjab Assembly constituencies in Lahore but it was being withheld to avoid tension among contenders and their supporters.

Meanwhile, PML-N activists from Lodhran district continued protesting outside the Model Town office of the party throughout the day against denial of ticket to their favourite candidate in the area.

They also vent their anger by beating chests in front of Senator Zulfikar Khosa’s vehicle when he arrived there to attend the parliamentary board meeting.

One of the protesters, Akram, climbed an electricity pole and refused to come down, demanding Shahbaz Sharif himself should listen to his grievance. But the younger Sharif never turned up and Akram had to climb down, pledging he would neither vote nor work for the party nominee in his Lodhran constituency.

Sources said the party had given Senator Zulfikar Khosa a free hand in Dera Ghazi Khan to select PML-N

Source: Dawn

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