SAHIWAL: Observers in the city feel the final contest here would be witnessed between the PML-N and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), while the PPP candidates would help improve the party’s image by bagging more votes than they did in the 2013 elections.
The Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan has also fielded a candidate from the local Kamyana tribe for NA-147 Sahiwal-I.
Under the new delimitation, Sahiwal district lost one National Assembly constituency in Chichawatni tehsil and now the district was left with NA-147, 148 and 149. In 2013, three out of the four seats here were clinched by the PML-N and the remaining by Rai Hasan Nawaz of the PTI. Hasan was disqualified for being a defaulter of banks and later during by-election, Jutt brothers of Chichawatni snatched the seat from the PTI.
Sahiwal is dominated by Rajput, Arain, Jutt, Syed, Ansari clans and Langriyal, Khagga, Fatyana, Kathiya, Murdanay and Bharwana tribes.
Pir Imran Shah of the PML-N won the then NA-160 of the city in 2008 and 2013. He was a nominee this time around as well. He is competing with PTI’s Nauraiz Shakoor, whose son Ali Nauraiz Shakoor was the runner-up on a PTI ticket in 2013 against Pir Imran.
Rana Amir Shahzad was contesting on a PPP ticket for NA-147. He had served the PML-Q for 15 years and because of his business connections with the National Assembly deputy speaker, managed to grab a PPP ticket. He had polled around 22,000 votes in 2013.Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan has fielded Khalid Kamyana from a local tribe. His father, Sadiq Kamyana, is a Supreme Court lawyer and one of his brothers, a high-ranking police officer, Bilal Kamyana.
For NA-148, the PML-N nominated Chaudhry Ashraf as its candidate, who won the 2013 elections against Muhammad Yar Dhakoo of the PTI with a margin of 50,336 votes. Hera Mahar Ghulam Farid Kathiya is the PPP ticket for this seat; he has a strong affiliation with the Ravi river local tribes. He is also the PPP’s central executive member. The PTI awarded its ticket to Dhakoo once again.
For NA-149, there was a competition between the Rai and Nauman Langriyal families for a PTI ticket. Ultimately, the ticket was clinched by Rai Hasan Murtaza, a nephew of Rai Hasan Nawaz. He contested the 2016 by-polls and was the runner-up against Tufail Jutt of the PML-N. Rai Murtaza is also contesting for PP-201.
The PML-N awarded its ticket for NA-149 to Jutt brothers of Chichawatni. Tufail Jutt is now contesting on a PML-N ticket and his younger brother Hanif for PP- 200. The PPP candidate is Begum Shahnaz Javed’s son, Ali Javed. Earlier, Begum Shahnaz was slated to contest the polls herself, but due to poor health she pitted her son. Ali is contesting an election for the first time.
Similarly, PML-N’s Mian Munir Azhar, who had won in 2013 from NA-163, had to surrender for the Jutts due to the delimitation. His son, Shahir Munir, was awarded the party ticket for PP-201, but he succeeded to get a provincial assembly ticket for his son from Chichawatni tehsil.
Local observers see the actual competition between the PML-N and PTI for all three seats of Sahiwal district. But the PTI has to cover the 45 per cent vote margin in the previous elections to win the seats.
Published in Dawn, July 07th, 2018