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DERA GHAZI KHAN: The election 2018 has brought about a real change in Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur districts as five women candidates are contesting for NA and PP constituencies on the tickets of different political parties.

Former MPA Shamoona Mir Badshah Qaisrani is contesting for NA-189 on the PML-N ticket. She is the wife of Qaisrani tribe chief and former MPA Mir Badshah Qaisrani. This is her second election. She had to participate in the election after her husband was disqualified after the 2013 elections. She holds a masters degree, and remains active in her constituency. She will face Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI’s) Khwaja Sheraz in the elections.

Social worker Rashida Naseem is the Aam Admi Party candidate for NA-189 and PP-285. She is an MA Urdu.

Zartaj Gull is a PTI candidate for NA-191. She challenged feudal and tribal norms on women in the 2013 elections and surprised her opponents when she got thousands of votes. She remains in touch with the public and is often seen meeting with people in rural areas. Her husband Akhwand Himayoon also had contested from an urban provincial seat of Dera Ghazi Khan and lost the poll with a low margin in 2013. Ms Gull is facing PML-N candidate and Leghari tribal elder Awais Leghari.

On the same seat, the PPP has awarded ticket to Ms Nawab Saqlain. She has been with the PPP for years and currently she is PPP district president of women wing. She is a known social worker of the city. This is her first election. Her husband Nawab Saqlain has been contesting the election of the president of Pakistan in the past.

In Rajanpur, advocate Shazia Abid is contesting for NA-193 on the PPP ticket. She is a practicing lawyer at the Jampur bar and a dedicated party worker. She tops the PPP priority list for the Punjab Assembly reserved seats. She is facing two tribal elders in the general elections - former MNA Jafar Leghari of the PTI, and Gorchani tribe elder for deputy Punjab Assembly speaker Sher Ali Gorchani.

The PTI has fielded Dr Najeeba Shaheen for PP-289, the urban seat of Dera Ghazi Khan. She is a practicing gynecologist and an active member of the PTI cadres.

She is facing independent candidate and former chief minister Dost Muhammad Khosa, PML-N’s former MPA Aleem Shah and PPP’s Ali Murad Khetran.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2018