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GUJRAT: The PML-N has awarded ticket for NA-63 by-election to Nawabzada Matloob Mehdi, the scion of former MNA Nawabzada Iqbal Mehdi (late), whereas the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) has nominated Chaudhry Fawad Husain, a lawyer-turned-anchor, who had contested the last general elections as a PML-Q candidate in the same constituency.

Fawad belongs to a political family of Jhelum and is a nephew of former Punjab governor Chaudhry Altaf Husain as well as of former chief justice of Lahore High Court Chaudhry Iftikhar Husain (late).

The by-polls for NA-63, Jhelum 2, are scheduled to be held on July 14 as the seat had fallen vacant following the demise of PML-N MNA Nawabzada Iqbal Mehdi who had died in a New Delhi hospital on May 23.

June 10 was the last date for submitting nomination papers whereas the final list of candidates with their election symbols will be displayed on June 23.

PML-N District President Muhammad Boota Javed while talking to Dawn by phone confirmed that the party had awarded ticket to Matlood Mehdi as he was the sole applicant for the award of party ticket.

The Nawabzada family has a long history of affiliation with the PML-N.

Matloob Mehdi started his political career by making it to the chairman slot of Darapur Union Council in the local government elections in November 2015.

He was being considered as a potential candidate for the slot of the Jhelum District Council chairman; however, due to the demise of his father he would now vie for the NA seat.

His late father Iqbal Mehdi was elected MNA for five times in 1988, 1990, 1993, 1997 and 2013. His great grandfather and grandfather were also active politicians.

Fawad Husain stood third as a PML-Q candidate in 2013 general elections by securing 34,072 votes; however, there has been a revolt in the local PTI ranks on award of party ticket to him.

In 2013 general election, PTI’s nominee Mirza Saeed Mahmood Baig, better known as Mahmood Mirza Jhelumi, had been the runner-up by securing 42,805 votes.

This time, Mirza has switched over to the PPP for being ignored by the PTI and his son, Jahangir Mirza Jhelumi, will now be a PPP candidate in the by-polls.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2016