ATTOCK, March 31: On the last day for submission of nomination papers by candidates for the forthcoming general elections on Sunday, a great hustle and bustle was witnessed at the offices of the returning officers here.
The candidates were in a hurry in submitting their nominations before the closing hours of 4pm but the deadline was later extended to 12 midnight. Majority of the candidates arrived at the offices of the ROs in processions in order to demonstrate their power against each others, causing huge rush inside and outside the offices besides partial traffic jam on the roads.
Despite a weekly holiday, lawyers were also engaged in assisting the candidates in filling their nomination papers. Moreover, the offices of political parties, independent groups and residences of politicians and candidates also wore a festive look.
The district administration and the police had taken extra security measures to maintain peace and avoid any untoward incident.
It was for the first time that potential candidates belonging to different parties filed their nomination papers instead of waiting for the award of tickets by their parties.
Some parties had also instructed their aspirants to file their papers without waiting for the award of tickets as their parliamentary boards were still engaged in taking final decisions on the award of the tickets.
So far, PTI, PML-N and the PPP have not officially announced their final candidates, causing confusion among the intending aspirants and their workers.
JUP leader Hafiz Saeed, Central Chairman Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP) Engineer Jameel Ahmad Malik, Sheikh Shahid Mehmood, Mohammad Gullzar Awan, Israr Sheikh of JI, Bahdur Khan and Nadeem Raza Khan submitted nomination for NA- 57 Attock-I.
Similarly, Sheikh Shahid, Nadeem Raza , ex-MNA Eman Waseeem, Dr Attiqur Rehman of JUI-F, Sheikh Suleman Sarwar of PML-N, Raja Mohammad Saddique of PML-N, Malik Hakmeen Khan, ex-MPA Shahan Malik of PPP, Rana Shaukat of PTI, Nawasish Khan, Mirza Abdul Rehman and CPP's Central Chairman Engineer Jameel Ahmad Malik have submitted papers for PP-15 Attock-1.
Besides, ex-MPA Shujah Khanzada of PML-N, Qazi Ahmad Akbar of PTI, Raza Khan of Major group, Malik Mir Afzal advocate and Jabar Ali Khan of JI filed papers for PP-16 Attock-II. Shawaz Khan of PML-N and Akbar Khan Tanoli of PTI have also submitted papers for PP-17 Attock-III.
Two PTI men in race for PA seat
An interesting situation emerged in the provincial assembly constituency of PP-15 Attock-1 when another Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) leader, Rana Shaukat Ali Khan, submitted his nomination papers on Sunday.
Former MPA Syed Ejaz Bukhari had already filed his nomination papers for the same seat after receiving the green signal from the PTI leadership.
The local leadership of the party was shocked when Mr Rana, an ex-union council nazim, who is also a cousin of PTI’s district general secretary Rana Liaqut Ali Khan, arrived at the office of the returning officer to file his nomination papers. Some supporters of Mr Bukhari were also present there to monitor the development with astonishment. The decision by Mr Rana to contest the lection form the seat can upset Mr Bukhari as he and his supporters had just taken a sigh of relief after the PTI considered him as its candidate for the PP-15. Mr Rana, a former leader of the Muttahida Mehnutkash Mahaz, had announced his decision to contest the election for PP-15 soon after joining the PTI in June last year along with some ex-councillors. At that time, he had said that like in the past the people of his constituency would extend full support to him. In the 2005 local government elections, he had won the Attock Union Council (UC) nazim’s seat by defeating the then ruling PML-Q candidate. But the unexpected move by Mr Rana has worried Ejaz Bukhari as he had been considering himself as the most favourite and strong candidate for the provincial assembly seat. With the filing of the nomination papers by Mr Rana as the second PTI aspirant, Mr Bukhari will be facing a completely different situation as the Rana family has political influence in PTI and local socio-political circles of the area. Mr Rana also remained UC nazim for four years while his cousin Rana Liaquat was elected PTI district general secretary unopposed during the recent intra-party elections. It was being expected by the party that after electing Mr Liaquat as the party district general secretary, his cousin Mr Rana would withdraw from the PP-15’s run. It may be noted that Mr Bukhari had won PP-15’s seat in 2002 elections from the platform of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal but later he joined hands with the PML-Q after developing differences with the MMA. In response, his brother Wajid Bukhari was inducted as the federal minister for environment in the caretaker cabinet in the then president Musharraf’s regime before the 2008 elections. In 2008's elections, Mr Bukhari defended his PP-15’s seat again from the PML-Q but was defeated by PPP’s Malik Shah Khan. Later, Mr Bukhari joined the PTI.