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— File Photo

With the defection of the Sahis to the PML-N, the murder of the Bajwa gang ringleader, the supporters of the Sahis, and retaining of former MNA Tariq Bajwa by the PPP on NA-75 constituency, the contest on this seat will become more competitive should the PML-N decide to award the party ticket to the Sahi family. In the last general election, the PML-N could not field any candidate from the NA-75 constituency of Faisalabad having two Punjab Assembly seats -- PP-51 and PP-52 covering dozens of villages, including Chak Jhumra, Sahianwala, Salarwala, Barnala, Gatwala, Munianwala, Lohke and Dhanoana.

For years Jaats, who are in majority, are contesting against each other in this constituency. However, the Arains, Rajpoots, Awans and the Gujjars also have a fair share in the victory of candidates.

The Chak Jhmura and Sahianwala are known as no-go areas of Faisalabad because of prevalence of criminals, particularly the Bajwa gang, and enmities of different families, who have killed a number of members of each other in armed clashes.

Former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif had changed the entire staff of the Sahianwala and Chak Jhumra police stations.

Former Punjab Assembly speaker Afzal Sahi and his elder brother former MNA Ghulam Rasool have joined the PML-N. They expect to get the party tickets for NA-75 and its allied Punjab Assembly constituencies – PP-51 and PP-52.

Sources said the Sahis were finding it difficult to get tickets for three constituencies as the PML-N would be likely to follow the one-ticket-for-one family policy.

They said since the Sahis had not been issued tickets of any constituency they had not launched their election campaign and were awaiting the response from the party leadership.

In the 2002 general election, the Sahis had been ruling the area with the support of the Bajwa gang.

The police force working under the then district police officer Amin Waince had also been hesitating to lay hand on the powerful Bajwa gang involved in extortion, kidnapping for ransom and other heinous crimes.

At least six members of the Bajwa gang carry bounty on their head.

Khurrmi Bajwa, the Bajwa gang ringleader, had been gunned down by unidentified people when he was returning from a marriage ceremony a few months back.

Ghulam Rasool Sahi had won the elections of NA-75 in 2002 by defeating Wajid Mustafa Bajwa of the PPP. Sahi secured 55,464 votes and Bajwa got 35,417 votes.

Afzal Sahi had become the Punjab Assembly speaker after winning the PP-51 seat in 2002 elections. However, in 2008 elections, he lost the seat.

In the 2008 elections, Tariq Bajwa, brother of Mustafa Bajwa, contested elections for NA-75 seat on the PPP ticket and defeated Ghulam Rasool Sahi, who was fielded by the PML-Q.

Liaquat Ali of the PPP had defeated Afzal Sahi on PP-51 in 2008 elections. However, Zafar Zulqarnain Sahi, son of Ghulam Rasool Sahi, had won the PP-52 elections by defeating PML-N’s Dr Muhammad Shafiq.

Tariq Bajwa, who is also the PPP district president, wanted to field his brother on NA-75 seat in the upcoming elections, but the PPP leadership has turned down his request and retained him as its candidate.

Sources said the PPP had provided sufficient funds to Tariq Bajwa to counter the influence of the Sahis in his area.

The PPP provided gas to a number of villages and also constructed several roads in the area.

Sources said the name of former Faisalabad bar president Saleem Jahangir Chattha was being tipped as the PTI candidate.


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