LAHORE Well-informed sources have asserted that the warmth demonstrated by PML-N Chief Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Awami Muslim League President Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, and other heart-warming mutual moves are indicative that these will pave way for Sheikhs rejoining of the N-League.
The observers are of the view that options for Nawaz Sharif are limited to hand over important city of Rawalpindi to someone with the capacity to get elected. Sheikh Rasheed has won eight of nine polls in three decades. This is particularly of huge importance considering the fact that the political gang-up in Rawalpindi is aimed at defeating candidates fielded by the PML-N, with one exception of Sheikh Rashid.
While asserting that Nawaz Sharif will give the last nod, a senior leader of the N-League opined that 'something was happening behind closed doors, and warming of hearts in the party, and it had been discussed at some level. However, I cannot comment on his present status. My prediction is he will be with us since many have already, while the Chaudhrys of Gujrat will be left with minnows. Many are sitting on their haunches to join us, he pointed out, while mentioning names of quite a few leaders, who had comeback to the 'N fold.
When, where and how Sheikhs joining will happen is anybodys guess, but the possibilities are that Nawaz Sharif may appear at the Lal Haveli despite strong opposition from Ch Nisar Ali Khan, who has been always handling the political affairs in the Rawalpindi Division. Then Sheikh Rashid would be left with no choice but to go back to the PML-N, maintained one of his close friends. Also, his joining of his old comrades would also mean that his faction of the Muslim League, that is, Awami Muslim League, merge into the 'N.
In the hindsight, after having left N-League in 2002, Sheikh contested polls from NAs 55 and 56 and won as independent candidate. The political slogan that he cashed on was 'I will place both seats at Nawaz Sharifs feet. However, he was discouraged by alleged arrogant response of the PML-N chief.
When this correspondent contacted Sheikh Rashid, he said he would not subscribe to this because no one from the top leadership of the N-League has contacted him so far. The vocal politician asserted that in politics, there is no word as the final one. At the All Parties conference, he (Nawaz Sharif) met me in a cordial manner, he added. However, he was of the considered opinion that all factions of the Muslim League should be united on one platform, and if it would have been done, then Nawaz Sharif would have benefited.
The present mayhem would have been avoided, especially since all parties are joining hands against the N-League, he maintained.
While not confirming Sheikh Rashids rejoining, Secretary Information PML-N Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan observed, if someone tries to forget, then there is nothing bad in it. He did not offer further comments to this.