SIALKOT - Despite winning majority of the National and Provincial assemblies seats in Sialkot district, no PML-N parliamentarians could be inducted into both federal and provincial cabinets which has now become talk of the town today.
In 2008 general elections, the PML-N clinched four out of five National Assembly seats, besides, winning eight seats of the Punjab assembly out of total 11 seats in the district.
When the PPP formed central government in coalition with PML-N, Sialkot based PML-N MNA Khawaja Muhammad Asif was given the portfolio of federal minister for petroleum.
However, Kh Asif resigned from the ministry following the PML-N decision to quit the federal government.
After this, he indulged himself into central level politics of the PML-N and became the “right hand” of Sharif Brothers.
Kh Asif claims to have laid a net of the development projects in the district and is hopeful that his party will clean sweep by winning both national and provincial assembly seats in the district in the upcoming general elections.
On the other hand, majority of the party workers are not happy with MNA Kh Asif by accusing him of keeping a distance from them and comparing him with PPP MNA Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan who has been connected with the people of her constituency.
Similarly, political differences have also been cropped up between PML-N MPA Engineer Imran Ashraf and Kh Asif, who has accused the latter of blocking all the development funds of his constituency PP 123, Sialkot-III for the last five years.
In provincial government, PML-N totally ignored Sialkot as none of the party elected MPAs could be inducted into Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s cabinet, though he has appointed Sialkot based non-elected former MPA Mansha Ullah Butt as his special assistant. CM Shahbaz Sharif had also appointed Pasrur based PML-N MPA Ch Munawar Gill as his advisor, but later he was forced to resign.
After this, the PML-N elected MPAs remained deprived of their representation in the provincial cabinet.
On the other hand, the PPP, acknowledging the importance of the district, inducted MNA Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan as federal minister.
Firdous enjoyed four different portfolios as federal minister including the portfolio of federal minister for Information and Broadcasting and now as federal minister for National Regulations and Services.
She was elected as MNA on the PPP ticket by defeating PML-Q’s stalwart Chaudhry Ameer Hussain with majority of votes in her native constituency NA-111 Bajwat, Sialkot-II. This was the only seat won by the PPP out of total five national assembly seats in district in 2008 general elections.
Dr Firdous’s constituency also gained national level popularity with the visits of country’s top leadership including President Asif Ali Zardari, former prime minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, AJK President Sardar Yaqoob Ahmed Khan, AJK PM Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, former AJK premier Barrister Sultan Mehmood, Gilgit-Baltistan CM Syed Mehdi Shah, National Assembly Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi and many federal ministers.
In the context of upcoming general elections, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif is also visiting Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) on Wednesday (today) to lure the business community. The PML-Q could only win a single provincial assembly seats from the district and the party leader Ch Pervaiz Elahi had also visited Sialkot, as Deputy Prime Minister to drum up support for his party in the upcoming general elections.