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Biradarism rules the roost

February 14, 2008

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GUJRANWALA, Feb 13: Most of aspirants contesting elections on seven seats of national and 14 seats of provincial assemblies were either sons, daughters, brothers or close relatives of politicians who have set their monopoly in the city for the last 11 years. They are using all resources, including support from biradaris, to win the elections.

The Arian, the Ansari, the Kashmiri Mughal and the Sheikh biradaris will play a decisive role in the elections.

The city area comprises three national assembly seats -- NA-95, NA-96 and NA-97 -- and half a dozen provincial assembly seats -- from PP-91 to PP-96.

The PPP nominated candidate from NA-95, Imranullah Chaudhry, had won the elections with a narrow margin in 2002 against PML-N candidate Barrister Usman Ibrahim, the former provincial minister. But, Mr Chaudhry later joined the Patriot group which was merged with the then ruling PML-Q.

Now the PPP has fielded city secretary-general Zeeshan Ilyas, brother of slain Chaudhry Khalid Humayun, the former city president, against PML-N’s former provincial minister Usman Ibrahim and PML-Q's Imranullah Chaudhry.

Similarly, the PPP has fielded Faisal Rauf Rana for PP-91 and former MPA Lalla Shakeelur Rehman for PP-92 seats. The PML-N candidates are Imran Khalid Butt and Dr Ashraf Chohan for these two seats, respectively. While PML-Q aspirants has fielded Rana Sheraz Hafeez and Asif Iqbal Gujjar, son of former provincial minister Chaudhry Muhammad Iqbal Gujjar, for these seats, respectively.

In NA-96, the PPP, the PML-N and the MMA have fielded Khwaja Muhammad Saleh, Khurram Dastagir Khan, son of former federal minister Ghulam Dastagir Khan, and Maulana Qazi Hameedullah, respectively. The PML-Q has nominated industrialist Imtiaz Ahmad Bhutta, a new face on political horizon.

In PP-93 and PP-94, the PPP has nominated Tariq Gujjar and Tariq Ali, brother of former MPA Chaudhry Zahid Pervaiz, the PML-N Ashraf Ali Ansar and Saeed Mughal, the MMA Hafiz Mohsin Javed and Idris Ayub Sheikh while PML-Q has nominated Lalla Zahid Usman Ansari and Khwaja Waqar Hassan, respectively.

The PPP has fielded Dr Zafar Chaudhry for NA-97 constituency, while the PML-N has nominated district president Mehmood Bashir Virk, and the PML-Q has fielded former state minister Shahid Akram Bhinder.

Former MPA Saudul Hassan Dar of the PPP is in the race for PP-95 seat and former MPA Mehr Shabbir Ahmad for PP-96 seat. Against them are PML-N candidates Shazia, daughter-in-law of former MPA Ghulam Farid Chishti, and Sheikh Mumtaz Ali, and PML-Q candidate Dr Sajjad Mahmood Dhariwal and former MPA Muhammad Ashraf Butt, son of former mayor Muhammad Aslam Butt, respectively.

Except for PP-94 seat, the PPP had won all the provincial assembly seats in the 2002 elections. While MMA candidate Maulana Qazi Hameedullah had won the NA-96 seat and PML-Q’s Shahid Akram Bhinder the NA-97 seat.