CHAKWAL: A neck-and-neck contest is likely to be witnessed in PP-22 (Chakwal-cum-Talagang) between candidates of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) in the by-election on Sunday (today).

PP-22, a sub-constituency of NA-59, was won by PML-N candidate Sardar Ghulam Abbas who was also victorious in NA-59 in the Feb 8 polls. Mr Abbas, however, retained his National Assembly seat and vacated PP-22.

According to sources in the PML-N, Mr Abbas wanted the PP-22 ticket for his younger brother but the party instead awarded ticket to Malik Falak Sher Awan, a businessman from Talagang.

A PML-N leader on condition of anonymity told Dawn: “The party did not want to award a ticket to Malik Falak Sher Awan but it had to choose him as he had a strong backing of the powers that be.”

The PTI had alleged that as per Form-45, its candidate, Hakeem Nisar Ahmed, had defeated Malik Ghulam Abbas in the Feb 8 polls.

In Sunday’s by-election, the main contest is once again between Hakeem Nisar Ahmed and PML-N’s Malik Falak Sher Awan. However Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan’s candidate Mohammad Adrees and an independent candidate, Malik Ikram Abbas, are also in the running.In the Feb general elections, Mr Adrees had obtained 9,113 votes as per Form-47.

Ikram Abbas who was an active member of the PML-N and also a former chairman of Maingan Union Council, had sought party ticket for PP-22 constituency, but when the party awarded the ticket to Mr Awan, he decided to contest the election as an independent candidate.

The PML-N has two MNAs and three MPAs in Chakwal and Talagang who are actively campaigning for Malik Falak Sher Awan while PTI’s Sher Afzal Marwat has also attended a public meeting in Talagang.

PP-22 constituency comprises tehsils Chakwal, Kallar Kahar and Talagang. There are 290,122 registered voters out of which 146,798 are males and 143,324 females. As many as 215 polling stations have been set up in the constituency.

The Election Commission of Pakistan and the district administration have made foolproof arrangements for holding peaceful elections. Rangers have also been called to avert any untoward situation. According to a handout of the Punjab government, internet and mobile service would remain suspended in the area.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2024

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