The country’s ‘textile capital’ is yearning for change.

Industrialists as well as workers in Faisalabad have a grudge against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Pakistan Peoples Party as, according to them, they did nothing to improve their lot while in power.

Faisalabad is the second highest revenue-earning district in the country — thanks to its textiles.

During the Pakistan Peoples Party rule, Farooq Saeed served as the textile minister while Haji Akram Ansari as the minister of state for a few months. The Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and textile associations did their best to make the two ministers realise the gravity of the energy crisis and also called upon them to exert their influence for release of payments withheld by the government.

A number of industrialists who supported the PPP and PML-N in the past now stand disillusioned. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan’s promise to work for the revival of the textile sector has found many takers.

On the other hand, holders of the PML-N ticket echo the usual claims made by the party’s bigwigs that their government had undertaken ambitious projects over the past five years.

The PML-N candidates, in a departure from the past, are up against disgruntled voters bold enough to question the former legislators’ claims and promises with a pinch of salt.

Now first let’s take a look at the contests for National Assembly seats.

In NA-101 Zafar Zulqarnain Sahi faces Tariq Bajwa, a former MNA and ex-district chief of the PPP. Asim Nazir is another strong candidate, although he is in the field as an independent after failing to get a PML-N ticket.

Afzal Sahi, a former Punjab Assembly speaker and uncle of Zulqarnain, is trying his luck in PP-98 and his son, Ali Afzal, in PP-97.

The Sahis supported the PML-N in the last general election, but they joined the PTI a few weeks ago and were duly rewarded with three tickets. So much for Imran Khan’s bouncers against the family factor in politics.

Some staunch supporters of the PTI, for instance Ajmal Cheema and Fawad Cheema, are opposing the Sahis and would definitely dent their vote.

This time the PPP has fielded Umair Wasi Zafar against Nawab Sher Waseer, a former PPP man who joined the PTI only last month and managed to get the ticket for NA-102.

Zafar, son of former federal law minister Wasi Zafar, had set his sights on PTI nomination, but failed to make an impression on that party’s high command.

Tallal Chaudhry, a minister of state in the outgoing PML-N government, is in the run for NA-102. A couple of days ago, Chaudhry persuaded his uncle Akram Chaudhry not to contest against him as an independent candidate.

The NA-103 contest is virtually an all-Baloch affair. Ali Gohar Baloch of the PML-N will face PTI’s Saadullah Baloch and Shahadat Baloch of the PPP.

Shehbaz Babar Gujjar, an ex-MNA of the PML-N, is vying for NA-104, where his rival is Dildar Cheema of the PTI.

As many as 13 candidates are in the run for NA-105 elections.

A number of industrialists who supported the PPP and PML-N in the past now stand disillusioned. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan’s promise to work for the revival of the textile sector has found many takers.

Mian Farooq, a former MNA, is contesting on a PML-N ticket against a former state minister, Rana Asif Touseef of the PTI, and Ijaz Chaudhary of the PPP.

Masood Nazir, son of district council chairman Zahid Nazir, has thrown his hat in the ring as an independent after the PML-N refused to oblige him despite the efforts of his father and uncle.

The biradari factor

Rana and Jatt baradaris will play a decisive role in NA-106, where the PML-N has fielded former Punjab minister Rana Sanaullah and Dr Nisar Jatt represents the PTI. Mr Jatt was a PML-N candidate in 2013, but parted ways with the party after differences over the Election Reforms Bill. Saeed Iqbal is the PPP candidate.

A former provincial minister, Rana Aftab Ahmed of the PTI, is contesting from a provincial assembly constituency abutting on NA-106. He is regarded highly by friend and foe alike and observers think he will play a pivotal role in securing even the NA seat for his party.

In NA-108, as many as nine candidates are in the fray. Among them are former minister Abid Sher Ali of the PML-N, Farrukh Habib of the PTI and Malik Asghar Ali of the PPP.

Ex-MNA Mian Abdul Mannan of the PML-N will face Faizullah Kamoka of the PTI and Mohammad Afzal of the PPP in NA-109. The signs are that the constituency will see a virtual straight contest between Mannan and Kamoka. They had faced each other in 2013 as well.

In NA-110, 11 candidates are in the race. Prominent among them are former state minister Rana Mohammad Afzal of the PML-N and PTI’s Raja Riaz Ahmed, a former Punjab minister. Younas Salman holds the PPP standard. Rana Afzal is facing a tough time from workers of his party and the union council chairmen have declared they would not support him.

A group of workers confronted Rana Afzal during a meeting, complaining that he had turned a deaf year to their pleas for assistance in solving a problem of contaminated water. A video of the confrontation has gone viral on the social media. So, no end to the woes of PML-N candidates.

Published in Dawn, July 8th, 2018

Opinion

Courts & the poor
Updated 20 Jun 2021

Courts & the poor

Justice eludes those whose homes have been demolished.
No choice but to leave
20 Jun 2021

No choice but to leave

The influx of Afghan refugees into Pakistan is likely to increase again with the US withdrawal.
Cost of enforced modesty
Updated 19 Jun 2021

Cost of enforced modesty

By inviting mullahs to regulate biology textbooks the PTI government has put Pakistan in reverse gear.

Editorial

20 Jun 2021

More vaccines needed

THE vaccination rate in the country has slowed in recent days and could result in a crisis if not addressed...
20 Jun 2021

Balochistan protest

THE clashes outside the Balochistan Assembly on budget day were unfortunate. But they had been waiting to happen. ...
Silent victims
Updated 20 Jun 2021

Silent victims

THE deafening silence of political authorities, including leaders from the religious right, on the Mufti Azizur...
19 Jun 2021

NA peace — for now

AFTER a session of utter pandemonium and a distasteful war of words, normalcy finally returned to the National...
India uranium theft
Updated 19 Jun 2021

India uranium theft

REPORTS emerging from India about the theft of uranium and possible sale on the black market should be a cause for...
19 Jun 2021

KCR rigmarole

THURSDAY’S proceedings in the Supreme Court clearly demonstrated how divided the stakeholders are when it comes to...