SAHIWAL: Maria Mahmood took charge of the Pakpattan district police officer on Friday.

She is the second woman police officer posted as a the DPO in Punjab after Bahawalnagar DPO Ammara Athar and replaces Rizwan Gondal who was transferred by the IGP over the Maneka family issue.

13 SUBMIT PAPERS: A total of 13 candidates from Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), PPP, PML-N as well as some independents submitted their nomination papers for the upcoming by-election in PP-201, Sahiwal-III, Chichawatni.

The seat was vacated by Rai Murtaza Iqbal of the PTI who decided to retain his National Assembly seat of NA-149. Rai Murtaza had defeated the PML-N candidate to win this seat.

Among prominent contestants is Pir Samsam Bukhari, a former minister and PTI ticket-holder in the 2018 elections from Okara district. He had been awarded the ticket for PP-201 constituency of Chichawatni tehsil that was always a stronghold of the Rai family.

Rai Hasan Nawaz and Rai Azizullah were said to be strong here and considered ‘stars’ among the PTI Punjab high command. Rai Hasan, a former Sahiwal district nazim, is also president of the PTI south Punjab wing and was a member of the PTI’s former parliamentary board of Punjab. Therefore, many were surprised as to why the Rai family did not field a family member and instead got the ticket for someone from Okara district.

Samsam had contested on a PTI ticket in the previous general elections, but lost to PML-N’s Naeem Abbas Rubera.

A local PTI member from Chichawatni, retired Major Ghulam Sarwar, told the local media that PTI leadership had decided not to award ticket to Samsam. He called it “disinformation” from the Rai camp.

The contestants for PP-201 who have submitted their nomination papers with the district election commission were Naeem Akhtar, Mr Sarwar, Syed Mir Razauddin, Shahzad Saeed Cheema, Iftikhar Bashir Cheema, Shafqat Ali Cheema, Chaudhry Muhammad Tufail Jutt, lumberdar Chaudhry Muhammad Iqbal, Chaudhry Zafar Iqbal, Mubashir Ahmed, Nayar Farid Sampal, Daud al Qasim and Chaudhry Muhamamd Asif Maylo.

Interestingly, Mr Sarwar and Mir Raza were also in the run for a PTI ticket, while Shahzad Cheema and Shafqat Cheema were after a PPP ticket for the same constituency. Tufail Jutt and Hanif Jutt, both former PML-N lawmakers, were defeated by Rai Murtaza in the previous elections from NA-149 and PP-201.

The PPP and PML-N have yet to announce their candidates.

Published in Dawn, September 1st, 2018