JHANG: The political scenario in Jhang’s urban constituency NA-115 is changing fast because of the new alliances at the constituency level and religious (sectarian) vote bank in the district has been divided into three main groups.

At a press conference held here on Saturday, Anjuman-i-Tazia and Zuljinah Licence Holders’ office-bearers Ziaul Hassan Kazmi, Mulazim Hussain and others have announced support for former federal minister Sheikh Waqas Akram, contesting as an independent candidate for NA-115.

Shia Ulema Council Central General Secretary Allama Arif Hussain Wahidi during a visit to Jhang, a day before, had announced support for former senator Syeda Sughra Hussain Imam, also an independent candidate from the constituency.

Similarly, Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslemin (MWM) district chapter senior leader Syed Hassan Tirmazi in a press note has announced support for former MNA Ghulam Bibi Bharwana, the PTI’s candidate.

The Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat vote bank would also be shared by Maulana Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi, Sheikh Waqas Akram and Ghulam Bibi Bharwana, as Jhang municipality councillors belonging to ASWJ are seen campaigning with both Mr Akram and Ms Bharwana in city areas.

In a surprise development, former federal minister Syeda Abida Hussain, during a press conference, announced unconditional support to the PTI candidate for NA-114, Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan, while her daughter Syeda Sughra Hussain Imam is contesting from NA-115 against the party’s candidate, Ghulam Bibi Bharwana and others.

Meanwhile, the returning officers of three NA and seven PA seats in the district have completed polling arrangements and training of the polling staff assigned duties at total 1,210 polling stations.

District Monitoring Officer/Deputy Commissioner Shoukat Ali further said that CCTV cameras are being installed at 169 sensitive polling stations to ensure transparency and for security reasons.

The candidates have also been briefed about the ECP code of conduct, the DC added.

PANELS AND ALLIANCES: Almost all the main candidates for the three National Assembly (NA) seats in the district have included different provincial assembly candidates in their panels and are holding joint corner meetings and rallies with them.

Each NA constituency has two PA seats except NA-114 which has three provincial constituencies in the district.

The PPP ticket holder, former federal minister Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat, is contesting from NA-114 (Shah Jewana, Athara Hazari) that has 484,898 votes. He has made a panel with three PA candidates -- Syed Ali Akbar (PP-124), Faisal Jaboana (PP-125) and former MPA Aoun Abbas Sial (PP-130).

Similarly, former MNA Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan, the PTI candidate for NA-114, is flanked by three PA candidates -- former MPA Haji Ghulam Ahmed Gadi (PP-124), former MPA Mian Azam Challa (PP-125) and

Rana Shahbaz (PP-130), while an independent candidate, Alisha Iftikhar Baloch (NA-114), has joined hands with PA candidate Haji Iqbal Buslana (PP-125). She is also contesting from PP-124.

In NA-115 (Jhang urban) that has 452,321 votes, Sheikh Waqas’s panel comprises Sheraz Akram (PP-126) and former MPA Khurram Sial (PP-127), while PTI’s Ms Bharwana has former MPA Rashida Yaqoob Sheikh (PP-126) and former MPA Nawaz Bharwana (PP-127) in her panel.

On the other hand, Ms Imam is flanked by Zafar Abbas (PP-126), while Mr Ludhinavi’s panel comprises Moavia Azam Tariq (PP-126).

In NA-116 (Shorkot, Ahmed Pur Sial), where total votes are 4,66,446, PTI’s Sahibzada Ameer Sultan is flanked by Ghazanfar Abbas (PP-128) and Muhammad Asif Katia (PP-129).

Similarly, independent candidate for NA-116, Ameer Abbas Sial is running a joint campaign with former MPA Qamar Hayat Kathia (PP-128). Another independent candidate from the constituency, former MNA Saima Akhtar Bharwana, has former MPA Khalid Sargana (PP-128) and Madhoo Lal Hussain (PP-129) in her panel.

An independent candidate, Muhammad Asif Mavia, is running joint campaign with former MPA Khalid Ghani (PP-129). He is also contesting from PP-128.

Published in Dawn, July 15th, 2018