ISLAMABAD, Jan 4: Election season approaches and many aspiring politicians have no stars in their eyes but party tickets.
Islamabad is no different where a number of politicos are gearing up for a fight in NA 48, one of the two constituencies in this city.
And though the election is still some months away, the enthusiasm is such that three people are eyeing the PPP ticket.
Chaudhary Amjad Ayub, Faisal Sakhi Butt and Raja Imran Ashraf, all appear to be in the race.
Posters and banners carrying photos of each of them have appeared overnight in different parts of the city at different times. And each time, the campaign has been a self promotional one.
In fact, observers say it is not even clear if they are trying to woo the voters or the party leadership.
The first eager beaver was Faisal Sakhi Butt, famously known as FSB.
Before his fracas with the IHC, his closeness to the president, his interest in CDA and the upcoming national elections were the talk of the town.
But while he may have gone off the radar since the IHC took exception to his CDA activities but his political ambitions are believed to be intact.
His hoardings were all over the city and that they were aimed at something more than just publicising his pretty face, was evident from the fact that the posters were asking citizens to get their vote registered.
Though he is no longer in the news or acting as the king of the castle known as the CDA, people claim he is down but not out.
“Mr Butt has managed to keep the president happy and his support from the Bilour family from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa will also help his candidacy,” says a PPP worker.
But if access to CDA is seen to be a key to winning the election in Islamabad, then the Prime Minister’s brother Raja Imran Ashraf is also a contender.
The less famous of the Ashraf brothers has had more meetings with the new CDA chairman than any other local political figure in the last two months.
Common sense in Islamabad dictates that those who can influence the CDA can somehow attract voters because they will be able to influence the state patronage being doled out by the development authority.
And for those who may not know who visits the chairman’s office, they must surely have seen his banners wishing the residents Eid Mubarik.
However, skeptical observers feel that the shortage of time (Ashraf junior only became a contender for Islamabad since his brother moved into the prime minister’s house) may prove to be a handicap.
But a third dark horse has also emerged in the shape of Chaudhry Amjad Ayub.
His banners can be seen in E-11 and F-11 sectors that fall into constituency NA-48.
Ayub, say those familiar with the electoral fortunes of the city, has an advantage. He holds an appeal for the Punjabi castes living in the rural areas of Islamabad which fall into NA-48.
“Mr Ayub hails from the Gujjar family and he enjoys the support of the old residents of Islamabad who lived in the area before the city was developed,” said one PPP leader.
“He has a strong hold in the villages that fall within NA-48 and could provide strong competition for Pakistan Mulim League-Nawaz (PML-N) legislator Anjum Aqeel Khan who grabbed a major share of the votes from Golra and other villages of NA-48 in 2008,” he added.
But whether this native will win the ticket over the two imports to the city remains to be seen.
Islamabad has two constituencies, NA-48 which largely comprises the urban population and the other NA-49, which includes the rural areas of the capital territory.
From NA-49, PML-N’s Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhary is the elected representative to the National Assembly. The PPP contenders for this are Senator Syed Nayyar Bukhari or Mustafa Nawaz Kokhar.
However, it is the other seat which is causing more ripples as the PPP aspirants for this are jostling for attention and recognition.
“It’s our dream to win this seat but we have failed to do so since 1988 when Raja Pervez Asharf defeated Nawaz Kokhar,” remarked another female party worker.
However, Qamar Zaman Kaira claims that the PPP “has a proper procedure to award tickets for the elections.
He said a committee was formed before the general elections to select the candidates.
“Every candidate has to apply for the party ticket and even Zardari sahib is not exempt from this rule,” he added.