Ex-MNA in no mood to let others vie for NA-48 on PML-N ticket

Stage set for Anjum Aqeel’s political rebirth

Zubair Qureshi

December 25 is not only a big day for Christian community and Pakistanis for its significance of being Christmas Day and Birthday of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, it has a special significance for the PML-N workers as well since it is also the birthday of their leader former Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. However on Monday, it was also important for the local politician of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Anjum Aqeel Khan, the former MNA as he formally launched his election campaign by organizing Dec 25 celebrations at his office Khudadad Heights in E-11.
Independent critics and those who are well aware of Islamabad’s local politics look at this move of Anjum Aqeel as his political rebirth since his political career was eclipsed shortly after the start of his parliamentary career because of a real estate scam and he had to suffer defeat by PTI candidate in the last general elections of 2013.
However, this time he is quite confident to face odds come what may and to regain the lost seat in the National Assembly’s constituency. Anjum Aqeel who has been in politics for 27 years has seen many ups and downs during his long political career.
He was elected Member of the National Assembly in 2008 elections however, later, after his name appeared in a Rs6 billion National Police Foundation land scam, his political graph went down and ECP’s green signal for Mr Khan to contest by-election from NA-48 did not help the party reclaim its 2008 NA-48 seat. The party, ignoring Mr Khan awarded ticket to Ashraf Gujjar to contest polls on the seat vacated by Javed Hashmi of the PTI. However, Gujjar too could not do well largely due to Anjum Aqeel Khan and his group’s silent opposition and the seat was grabbed by Asad Umar of the PTI.
Monday’s move by Anjum Aqeel Khan to invite Raja Zafarul Haq and other stalwarts of the party to his office is seen as Anjum Aqeel Khan and the local party workers’ resolve to come back with a bang.
According to PML-N insiders, by holding grand reception and inviting the PML-N stalwarts like Raja Zafarul Haq, Senator Mushahidullah Khan and Siddiqul Farooq at his place, Anjum Aqeel Khan in a way has brushed aside the rumours that the party is in a fix whom to award ticket from his constituency (NA-48) in the general elections that are only seven months away. “There is no confusion regarding the NA-48 constituency and Anjum Aqeel Khan is the strong candidate from the constituency and is a leading candidate for the party ticket,” said a veteran politician while talking to Pakistan Observer. When asked if one of the deputy mayors was also in the race, he said by the time election date is announced there would be a long list of names but the party’s parliamentary board would decide whom to award the tickets and obviously Anjum Aqeel is a name to reckon with.

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