SIALKOT, Aug 22: The ruling PML remains divided into four groups in Narowal district over the issue of the nomination of their candidates. The divided groups are headed by National Reconstruction Bureau chairman Daniyal Aziz, former Narowal district nazim Col Javaid Safdar Kahilun (retired), federal health minister Naseer Khan and Punjab health minister Dr Tahir Ali Javaid.
The leaders have fielded their respective candidates in all urban and rural union councils of the district to show their political influence and potential. They publicly criticize one another for the failure to eliminate backwardness of the district, which lacks basic infrastructural facilities. The people, however, blame their leaders for the lack of interest shown by them.
Daniyal Aziz’s father Anwar Aziz (former federal minister), former Narowal district nazim Javaid Safdar Kahilun, Dr Tahir Ali Javaid’s father Dr Naimat Ali Javaid (prominent atomic scientist and former tehsil nazim of Shakargarh) and famed singer Abrarul Haq’s elder brother Maj Asrarul Haq (retired), all are very hopeful candidates for the slot of district nazim.
It is learnt that Dr Naimat Ali Javaid is a PML candidate for the slot.
The biradari factor plays a pivotal role in the politics of Narowal district. Of these there are the Mughal, the Jat, the Kashmiri and the Araeen biradaris.
The local leaders of the PML-N and the PPP allege that the government machinery is busy in the electioneering of the PML candidates in Zafarwal, Shakargarh and Narowal. They say government funds are being misused on the election campaigns of the respective PML-backed candidates.
Speaking at an election meeting at Shakargarh in favour of his father, Anwar Aziz Chaudhry, NRB chairman Daniyal Aziz admitted that the people of Narowal district could not enjoy the fruits of development because of a lack of interest, incompetence and inability of the local leaders and their political supporters. He said the current LB system changed the fate of the country, but not that of the Narowal district.
The PML-backed candidates have been facing strong public criticism in Shakargarh and Zafarwal, Noor Kot, Kot Nainaan, Baddo Malhi, Narowal city and its surrounding areas for their poor performance in past. The ruling party has fielded most of the old faces who also had contested the 2001 LB polls.
The PML-N, the PPP and the MMA leaders say the candidates backed by the opposition parties will put up a tough fight in the Aug 25 elections.
Narowal SP (investigation) Amjad Karim says the police have put in place a foolproof security plan for holding fair elections on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the opposition has alleged that the authorities have deputed hundreds of male and female polling staff belonging to various government departments for performing election duties in Narowal and Shakargarh tehsils. For his part, a polling staffer told Dawn that such staff has been deputed at two or three polling stations under the supervision of two or three returning officers in the two tehsils.
But other problems remain. It is said that often when a member of the polling staff reports at a polling station of a returning officer, another officer summons the same staff through police. The affected polling staff say the officials concerned have deputed several of those government employees on election duty who were transferred from Narowal to another district two years ago.
Several government employees have complained of having received two or three election duty letters, asking them to report to different polling stations. The Narowal district government officials have admitted making such mistakes, and say they are trying to resolve the issue by accommodating the affected polling staff’s requests.