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PML-N sweeps in Pindi, Islamabad

February 20, 2008

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ISLAMABAD, Feb 19: The Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) never did so good electorally as on Monday when it won both the National Assembly seats in the capital and six of the seven seats in the Rawalpindi region.

The party staged three upsets in the elections, first by defeating self pro-claimed “Farzand-i-Pakistan” Sheikh Rashid Ahmed of Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q), who had won from NA-55 for the six consecutive times. But this time he was contesting from two National Assembly seats NA-55 and NA-56 and lost both.

Defeat of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) candidate and former MNA Syed Nayyar Bokhari from his native constituency NA-49 came also as major upset. And another PPP candidate and former MNA Zamurd Khan was also routed in NA-54 by the PML-N.

This time the PPP bagged only one seat, while the ML-Q was swept out of the twin cities completely as it could not win even a single seat.

The victorious PML-N candidates in the twin cities include Anjum Aqeel Khan from NA-48 (61,480 votes), Dr Chaudhry Tariq Fazal from NA-49 (45,482 votes), Shahid Khakan Abbasi from NA-50 (999,87 votes), Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan from NA-52 (97,747 votes), Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan from NA-53 (72,257 votes), Malik Abrar Ahmed from NA-54 (58,226 votes), Makhdoom Muhammad Javed Hashmi from NA-55 (76,980 votes) and Muhammad Hanif Abbasi from NA-56 (73,433). The only constituency won by the PPP candidate Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was NA-51, who got 80,221 votes.

This was in contrast to election-2002, when the PPP obtained 4 seats - Syed Nayyar Bokhari (NA-49), Ghulam Murtaza Satti (NA- 50), Raja Pervaiz Ashraf (NA-51) and Zamurd Khan (NA-54).

In that election, the PML-N won only one seat when Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan emerged victorious in NA-52. Mutahidda Majlis-i- Amal (MMA) bagged two seats by Mian Muhammad Aslam from NA-48 and Muhammad Hanif Abbasi from NA-55. Two seats were won by independent candidates, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed from NA-55 and Ghulam Sarwar Khan from NA-53 who later joined PML-Q.

In 2002 election, number of registered voters in the nine constituencies in the twin cities were 2,914,073 and the voters turnout remained 45.6 per cent.

In 2008 election, boycott by the All Pakistan Democratic Movement (APDM) benefited PML-N candidate Anjum Aqeel as former MNA Mian Muhammad Aslam and a leader of Jamaat-i-Islami, a component of APDM, had been lending support to the PML-N secretly. Anjum Aqeel is a relative of the Peers of Golra Sharif and enjoyed support in the rural area of the constituency.

The PPP candidate in NA-48, Dr Israr Shah, was likely to get sympathy vote because of his own sacrifice when he lost his both legs in a suicide attack on the PPP camp set up outside the district courts to receive former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on July 27 last year but he could not win the polls.

In NA-49, Nayyar Bukhari was defeated by PML-N candidate Dr Chaudhry Tariq Fazal by a small margin, while PML-Q candidate Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar remained on third position.

In NA-55 and NA-56, the PML-N candidates Muhammad Hanif Abbasi and Makhdoom Javed Hashmi made a major upset by defeating PML-Q stalwart Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.