RAWALPINDI, March 25: As many as 130 nomination forms were collected on Monday by different candidates for the May 11 elections for the national and Punjab assembly seats from Rawalpindi.
The data obtained from the election officials in five National Assembly (NA) and 10 provincial assembly seats (out of seven NA and 14 PA seats) of Rawalpindi district show that a total of 160 forms had so far been collected by candidates belonging to different political parties in two days. But none of them has so far submitted the forms back to the returning officers.
Prominent among those who have obtained nomination papers are Ijazul Haq and Anwarul Haq, the two sons of former military dictator Gen Ziaul Haq, former adviser to Punjab chief minister Raja Ashfaq Sarwar of the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), Raja Basharat of the PML-Q and former MPA Rashid Hafeez, who has recently joined the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI).
Ijazul Haq has obtained nomination papers for NA-54 seat which he had won in 1990, 1993 and 1997 elections from the PML-N’s platform. His brother Anwarul Haq has obtained the form for the provincial assembly seat (PP-10) falling in the same constituency. Ijazul Haq formed his own party PML-Zia after quitting the PML-Q just before the 2008 elections.
PML-N’s Raja Ashfaq Sarwar has collected the nomination form for the National Assembly constituency NA-50 comprising Murree, Kahuta and adjoining hilly areas. PML-Q’s Raja Basharat has collected the nomination papers for NA-52 Rawalpindi seat whereas PTI leader Rashid Hafeez has got the forms for provincial assembly seat PP-11.
Interestingly, no prominent leader from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has so far obtained nomination papers from any of the five constituencies. Both the PPP and the PML-N are yet to announce party tickets for their candidates.
Sources in the PPP told Dawn that the party had already finalised the candidates for NA-50, NA-51 and NA-54 in Rawalpindi and for the two constituencies of Islamabad (NA-48 and NA-49), but the decision to field candidates in NA-55 and NA-56 was still pending.
The sources said Faisal Sakhi Butt and Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar had so far emerged as the strong PPP candidates from the two National Assembly constituencies of Islamabad. Though, the PPP is yet to come out with an official announcement, the sources said the party leadership had communicated its decision to both Mr Butt and Mr Khokhar.
On the other hand, the PML-N is expected to announce its party tickets for the Rawalpindi district on Wednesday (tomorrow).
The PML-N’s parliamentary board had already conducted interviews of the applicants for the party tickets, including former MNAs and MPAs, in Lahore. According to sources in the PML-N, the interviews of the aspiring candidates from Rawalpindi district had been conducted by the committee headed by former opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Raja Ashfaq Sarwar, Tahira Aurangzeb, Sardar Hayat, Javed Latif and Saud Aziz as its members.
So far, Shaharyar Riaz, Malik Shakil Awan, Sardar Naseem and Haji Pervaiz Khan have applied for the PML-N ticket from NA-55 whereas Hanif Abbasi, Zafar Ali Shah and Raja Waheed Mahfooz are willing to contest the election from NA-56 on the PML-N’s ticket.
The sources said that like previous elections, Ch Nisar himself was expected to contest the elections from NA-52 and NA-53 constituencies. NA-52 comprises the rural areas of the Rawalpindi district whereas NA-53 consists of Taxila, Wah Cantt and Ch Nisar’s native Chakri village.