GUJRAT: The PPP has pitched its Gujrat women’s wing President Wazirunissa against Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi in NA-69 (Gujrat-Kunjah) after former federal minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar and former MNA Samina Mushtaq Pagganwala did not show interest in contesting the elections.

Ms Wazir is a lawyer by profession. She is an active party worker as was her late mother, Nusrat Chaudhry. This is the first time that the PPP has nominated a woman worker on any of the district’s seats.

Mr Mukhtar and the Chaudhrys of PML-Q had been traditional rivals in this constituency since 1990, but the former federal minister is said to be unwell since losing the 2013 elections.

The party old guard in Gujrat, the Pagganwalas, seemed annoyed with the Punjab leadership for being ignored in party affairs. Former PPP MNA Samina Fakhar Pagganwala was approached by the senior party leadership to contest the elections, but sources said she expressed reservations, which the party accepted. However, her name was included in the list of party’s candidates for reserved seats for women in Punjab; the name was dropped from fourth to 10th spot though.

Party nominates candidates on four NA, seven PA seats in dist

The PPP has mainly relied on local party workers as contenders for most National and Punjab Assembly seats in the district. PPP Punjab President Qamar Zaman Kaira and former Punjab finance minister Tanveer Ashraf Kaira have been the only choices from so-called electables in the district.

The party has fielded its candidates on four NA and seven PA seats in Gujrat. Newcomer Azhar Iqbal has been given a ticket for NA-68 (Jalalpur Jattan-Tanda) whereas Qamar Zaman Kaira is in the run for NA-70 (Lalamusa-Dinga).

Another diehard worker, Nadeem Ashiq Awan, the scion of former Kotla union council nazim Haji Ashiq Awan, has been given party tickets for NA-71 (Sarai Alamgir-Kharian-Kotla) as well as PP-34 (Sarai Alamgir-Kotla).

Prof Rafiq Kathana is the PPP’s nominee for PP-28 (Tanda), Dr Farhan Mir PP-29 (Jalalpur Jattan), Ghulam Rasool Kissana PP-30 (Kunjah), Rizwan Dildar PP-31 (Gujrat city), Mian Khalid Rafique PP-32 (Dinga) and Tanveer Kaira PP-33 (Lalamusa).

Interestingly, PPP Gujrat district President Zia Mohiuddin, who is also a first cousin of Qamar Kaira, had been vying for a PPP ticket for NA-107 (now NA-71) since 2007, but this time he did not even apply for a ticket that was given to a local worker.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2018