SARGODHA: Nomination papers of the PML-N chief organiser Maryam Nawaz have been filed from PP-80 (Sargodha-9), in the absence of any potent aspirants belonging to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Isaf (PTI) in the field, most of whom are facing cases and action by the law-enforcement agencies (LEAs).

Under the prevailing situation the major contestants in the districts are aspirants of two main political parties — PML-N and PPP — or the independent ones.

In NA-82 (Sargodha-1) a tough competition is expected between the PML-N candidate, Dr Mukhtar Ahmad Bharath and PPP nominee Nadeem Afzal Chan.

In NA-83 (Sargodha 2), PML-N former MNA Mohsin Shah Nawaz Ranjha will face an independent candidate Aamer Sultan Ranjha. The support of Mela family could be decisive for any candidate in this constituency, say local observes.

There will be another considerably tough contest in NA-85 (Sargodha-4), where PML-N’s Dr Zulfikar will again face Aamer Sultan Cheema, now an independent candidate. In 2018, Cheema had lost the election on technical grounds because of a Supreme Court verdict and Dr Zulfikar was declared successful.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf aspirants, Usama Mela (NA-83) and Ansar Iqbal Harl (PP-73) are facing action by the law-enforcement agencies (LEAs) because of different cases registered against them.

The LEAs personnel had also raided the house of Mela, but he could not be arrested. Similarly, raids have been conducted on the factory, petrol pump and banquet hall owned by Harl.

Under these circumstances, they cant run their electoral campaigns, and the only option the PTI has been left with is to pitch some ‘low-profile’ candidates.

However, observers of local politics say that despite such difficult conditions the PTI candidates could give a tough time to those of the PML-N, including its chief organiser Maryam Nawaz, if the party could mange to get back its ‘bat’ symbol through litigation and given a level playing field.

For now, in the absence of any considerable PTI candidate in the view, the PML-N seems tobe in a commanding position in Sargodha district, they add.

Meanwhile, the Jamat-i-Islami has fielded its candidates in all the national and provincial assembly constituencies in the district.

Published in Dawn, December 25th, 2023

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