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SAHIWAL: After quitting of its former district president Ahmad Raza Maneka and reduction of a National Assembly seat in the lattes delimitation, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf is finding it hard to pick its candidates for NA-145, Pakpattan-1 and the provincial assembly constituencies falling under it.

Before the fresh delimitation the district had three National Assembly seats -- NA-164, 165 and 166. However, following the delimitation it has been left with NA-145 and NA-146. The NA-145 has been carved out of two previous constituencies -- NA-164 and NA-165.

Because of reduction in the district’s seats, it has become difficult for the PTI to accommodate all the aspirants of its ticket from NA-145.

On the other hand the rival PML-N that had won all the three seats in the district in the 2013 poll has almost finalised its candidates for both the National Assembly constituencies.

The Maneka family had been in the politics even before the independence, and has a strong clan-based vote bank in the area. As per sources close to the family, Mr Ahmed Raza Maneka, brother of Khawar Raza Maneka, ex-husband of PTI chairman Imran Khan’s third wife Ms Bushera Maneka, had been opposing the interaction between Imran Khan and Ms Bushra. He had resigned from the district office of the party with two months of the disclosure of the marriage between Mr Khan and his brother’s wife.

Ahmed Raza Maneka had won 2002 election and was runner up in 2008 on a PML-Q ticket. Later, he joined the PTI. During 2013 election he was runner up on a PTI ticket with 55,271 votes from NA-165. He popularised the party in the area by bringing in the Chishtees of Pakpattan. Later, he was elevated to the PTI’s district president slot in 2016.

After his quitting of the PTI, the party leadership gave the slot to Rao Naseem Hashim who had contested 2013 election on the PTI ticket from (previous) NA-164, Pakpattan-I and secured third position. Muhammad Shah Khagga was the runner up in the constituency with 65,630 votes on a PML-Q ticket.

After Ahmed Raza quit the party, Mr Khagga joined the PTI. Now, both Rao Naseem Hashim and Ahmed Shah Khagga are in the run for the PTI ticket for NA-145. The party has yet to decide its candidate.

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2018