Arrangements have been finalised for the elections on 14 seats of the National Assembly in the twin cities of Rawalpindi-Islamabad and its adjoining areas. Below is the brief description of the constituencies along with the main candidates and their party affiliations.
NA-48: The last election rally of the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) in Islamabad, which was addressed via a video link by Imran Khan from his Lahore hospital bed, seems to have given a boost to the PTI candidate Makhdoom Javed Hashmi. A combination of youth, disgruntled PPP workers and the urban middle class women expressing sympathies with the injured PTI chairman seemed charged up for the May 11 contest.
The other warhorses - Anjum Aqeel Khan of the PML-N and Mian Aslam of the JI - spent Friday meeting workers and key supporters.
However, lack of experienced cadre in the PTI could have its toll when it comes to casting votes. But if the workers succeed in bringing out voters the outcome could be promising. The wholesome support of traders to Anjum Aqeel and utilisation of students and the women wing by Mian Aslam could make things better for them too.
NA-49: Though 26 candidates are vying for the seat, the actual contest will be between Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry of the PML-N and Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar of the PPP.
PML-N’s Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry won the seat in the 2008 by obtaining 45,482 votes - 34 per cent of the total 135,591 polled. Nayyar Hussain Bukhari of the PPP was the runner-up with 44,726 votes - 33 per cent of the total polled.
Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar the PML-Q also participated in the 2008 elections and bagged 34,546 votes which were 26 per cent of the total votes cast.
This year, the PML-Q has not given ticket to any candidate while the APML has already announced its decision to boycott the polls. Mr Khokhar is contesting the elections on the ticket of the PPP and the family of Mr Bukhari, the Senate chairman, is backing him.
NA-50: This is the biggest constituency of the Rawalpindi district comprising Murree, Kotli Sattiyan, Kahuta and the four union councils of Kalar Syedan.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi of the PML-N has been elected from the area since 1988 after the death of his father Khaqan Abbasi, who won the seat and became a federal minister in the Jonejo government and died in the Ojrri Camp incident. The only time Mr Abbasi lost the elections was in 2002 when Ghulam Murtaza Satti won the seat.
Old rivals are facing each other this year along with Sadaqat Abbasi of the PTI, Qari Saifullah Saifi of the JUI-F and JI’s Solat Majeed Satti.
The three main candidates are from Murree tehsil and belong to the Abbasi clan. Murtaza Satti is the only contestant from Kahuta and Kalar. In Kotli Sattiyan, Solat Majeed Satti is poised to grab the JI votes.
NA-51: Represented by Raja Pervez Ashraf in 2002 and 2008 elections, the area is rich in oil and gas resources. Pervez Ashraf after becoming the prime minister in 2012 ushered in an unprecedented development of the area. This year, Raja Jawaid Ikhlas of the PML-N and Raja Farhat Faheem Bhatti of the PTI are confronting Mr Raja.
Mr Ikhlas, a former district nazim, has joined the PML-N after quitting the PML-Q. During the previous elections, his son Qasim Jawaid Ikhlas bagged about 76,000 votes against over 80,000 of Pervez Ashraf. Chaudhry Mohammad Riaz of the PML-N secured over 50,000 votes. This time again, old rivals are contesting the elections but it is expected that Pervez Ashraf would prove to be a hard nut to crack for his rivals.
NA-52: Though 15 candidates are in the field, the actual fight is expected between Mohammad Basharat Raja, a joint candidate of the PML-Q and the PPP, and Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan of the PML-N.
The PML-N leader is struggling to retain the seat for the third time.
He won the seat in 2002 with 73,671 votes after defeating Raja Basharat’s brother Raja Nasir who managed to get 56,645 votes while Saghir Khokhar of the PPP bagged 11,684 votes.After the 2008 elections, Chaudhry Nisar vacated the seat as he had also won from NA-53 (Taxila).
The PML-N fielded Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law Mohammad Safdar in the by-election who won the seat with 54,917 votes.
Though the PTI candidate is a new entrant, the urban areas are witnessing support for Imran Khan, especially in sectors like Chaklala Scheme-III and the army housing schemes like Askari-I to 10.
NA-53: This constituency covers the historical city of Taxila and rural area of district Rawalpindi including Chakri, Adiala, Sahial and the garrison city of Wah Cantonment.
According to the election commission, the total population of the area is 484192 while the number of registered voters is 343853.
Although there are 11 candidates, a close contest is expected between the PML-stalwart Chaudhry Nisar and PTI’s Ghulam Sarwar Khan. Others are PPP’s Justice (retired) Syed Intikhab Shah, Khawaja Waqar Khan of the JI, Hakeem Mohammad Asad of the JUI-F and MQM candidate Zahid Mehmood Kiyani.
NA-54: Here the fight will be between the PML-N and the PPP. Former MNA of the PML-N, Malik Ibrar, is facing Zamarud Khan of the PPP.
This constituency comprises Peshawar Road from Golra Mor to Tench Bhatta, including areas around the GHQ, Lalazar, Westridge and Misrial Road.
In 2002, Zamarud Khan won the seat by defeating PML-N chairman Raja Zafarul Haq with a margin of just over 2,600 votes. But in 2008, he lost to Malik Abrar, who got 58,228 votes. Zamrud Khan bagged 33,749 votes and PML-Q’s Raja Basharat was left with 10,400 votes.
Though Jamaat-i-Islami did not take part in the 2008 elections, the joint candidate of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui had got 12,676 votes in 2002 elections.
This time, religious parties have fielded their separate candidates. Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan central leader Shah Mohammad Awais Noorani, Maulana Mohammad Ayaz of JUI-F and Rizwan Ahmed of the JI are also in the field.
NA-55: A tough competition is expected between the PTI supported Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and PML-N’s Malik Shakil Awan.
The most challenging candidate is Sheikh Rashid, a six-time winner of the seat and a former federal information minister. Former MNA Malik Shakil Awan of the PML-N will again face Mr Rashid.In the 2008 elections, Sheikh Rashid was defeated by PML-N’s Javed Hashmi who bagged 76,980 votes. Mr Rashid had to get his surety bond confiscated not only in NA-55 but also in NA-56.
Javed Hashmi vacated the seat and in the by-elections Haji Pervaiz of the PML-N became the MNA by scoring 25,237 votes.
However, he was forced to resign after one of his nephews was caught sitting in an examination in place of the MNA in 2010. Malik Shakil Awan of the PML-N defeated Sheikh Rashid with 73,000 votes in February 2010 by-elections. The PTI support may provide a chance to Sheikh Rashid to secure the seat again.
NA-56: PTI chief Imran Khan is contesting elections from this seat.
He will face PML-N’s Hanif Abbasi who won the seat in 2002 and 2008. Both the parties are struggling to win the seat.
The PML-N candidate is facing the ephedrine case as well as an unsupportive attitude of the party leaders in the adjoining areas.
The sympathy wave for the PTI trigged by its chairman Imran Khan’s injury before the elections will also increase the votes for the party at least in this constituency.
The young generation in NA-56, comprising Satellite Town, Shamsabad, Chandni Chowk, Sadiqabad etc., run the campaign of the PTI chairman. They are seen sending SMS through cellphones to each other for the support of Imran Khan.
In 2002, Sheikh Rashid won the seat by 30,951 votes while PPP’s Sardar Shaukat Hayat got 19,888 votes and Dr Afzal of the MMA bagged 12,540 votes. In 2008, Hanif Abbasi won the seat by 73,433 votes while PPP’s Sardar Shaukat Hayat got 22,720 votes and Sheikh Rashid of the PML-Q bagged 10,964 votes.