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RAWALPINDI: The local PML-N leaders have rolled up their sleeves to get advantage of the possible increase in the number of national and provincial assembly seats on the basis of the new census.

In Rawalpindi, the seats of both the houses of parliament are likely to go up as the population has increased manifold. At present, the Rawalpindi district has seven National Assembly and 14 provincial assembly seats.

In the city and cantonment areas, the number of National Assembly seats will increase from the current four to five or six. A constituency inhabited by at least 900,000 people is allocated a seat of the National Assembly which is increased when the population crosses the mark of 1.5 million.

Local leaders say census would be a blessing in disguise for PML-N as it could accommodate its workers on new seats

While the census has just started, PML-N Senator Chaudhry Tanveer and MNA Tahira Aurangzeb, the mother of Minister of State for Information Marriyam Aurangzeb, have emerged as candidates for the new seats.

A senior PML-N leader told Dawn that Chaudhry Tanveer was looking for a new constituency for his son Daniyal Chaudhry as NA-52 was still under the stronghold of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

He said Chaudhry Nisar, who belonged to Taxila, kept two constituencies with himself and in the 2013 elections he lost his home constituency in Taxila but managed to win the seat from NA-52.

“The presence of Chaudhry Nisar does not go well with the family of Chaudhry Tanveer as in the 2013 elections the interior minister also won the provincial assembly seat of PP-6 as an independent candidate which was the family seat of Mr Tanveer. Later, however, the ticket was allotted to Chaudhry Sarfraz Afzal, a nephew of Mr Tanveer.”

He said the census would help end differences among the local PML-N leaders as all of them would be accommodated. He said the census would become a blessing in disguise for the ruling party.

“Apart from the National Assembly seats, the number of provincial assembly seats will also go up and the PML-N, which is known as a party of more leaders and less workers, can accommodate its men.”

He said there was also a proposal that some areas in the cantonment would be included in Islamabad to form a new constituency and Marriyam Aurangzeb would be accommodated there.

Another senior leader of the party said there were also apprehensions that the party would launch women leaders from Rawalpindi in the 2018 elections as the party had to accommodate at least five per cent women on the general seats.

“But in Rawalpindi, the women leaders will spoil the benefit as they may not be able to win a seat.”

He said the census would also increase the number of union councils and the party had to prepare its workers for the seats of the chairmen. However, he said the implementation of new delimitation would be applied in the next local government elections.

When contacted, PML-N former MNA Malik Shakil Awan said the census would increase the number of the national and provincial assembly seats but the decision to field candidates would be taken by the party leadership.

He said the new development would improve the position of the party in Rawalpindi as it had a number of workers to accommodate on the seats. He said the population of the city had increased manifold and there was a dire need to increase the number of seats.

He said in each constituency, there were more than 300,000 voters and the census would give a clear picture of the population both in the city and cantonment areas.

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2017

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