SARGODHA, Sept 10: The People’s Party Parliamentarians and the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) are likely to give a tough time to Ch Shujaat Husain in NA-74 as they have reportedly formed an alliance against him.
In Bhakkar district, having four tehsils — Bhakkar, Darya Khan, Kallur Kot and Mankera — there are two seats for national assembly, NA-73 and NA-74, and four for the provincial assembly, PA-47, PA-48, PA-49 and PA-50.
There are three main groups — Niwani, Shahani and Dhandla — in the district. The Niwani-Shahani alliance that came into being in the last local elections is still intact.
This time, following the rejection of nomination papers of two brothers — ex-MNA Rasheed Akbar Niwani and former minister Saeed Akbar Niwani — after they submitted fake BA degrees, the Niwani group has fielded PML-QA vice-president Shujaat Husain against Dr Muhammad Afzal Dhandla for NA-74.
Masti Khel and Khanan Khel tribes, having an influence in Kallur Kot tehsil, are backing the Niwani group which has joined the PML-QA along with the Shahanis.
Other influential families are Jhamat, Kuhawar and Utra. Malik Nazir Utra, a staunch PPP activist, who is heading a disgruntled group of the PPP, has joined hands with the Niwani group.
In NA-73, the actual fight will be between Sanaullah Khan Masti Khel (PML-QA) and Abdul Majeed Khanan Khel (Independent). They both are feudals of Nawan Jandawala.
Sanaullah Khan is reported to be a close relative of ex-MNA Zafarullah Khan Khel. If the MMA, the PML-N and the PPP decide in favour of the independent candidate, it will be difficult for the PML-QA nominee to win the elections despite the support of Niwani and Shahani groups.
In NA-74, Shujaat Husain (PML-QA) will face Dr Muhammad Afzal Dhandla (Independent), Dr Muhammad Safdar (PML-N) and Malik Ghulam Sarwar (PPP).
Dr Muhammad Afzal is a nephew of Ghulam Husain Dhandla who was elected MNA from Bhakkar tehsil on the ticket of PML (Convention) and he was among the two elected nominees of PML (Convention) from West Pakistan.
Zafarullah Dhandla, the son of Ghulam Husain Dhandla, won the elections in 1990 by defeating Rasheed Akbar, but in 1993 Rasheed Akbar returned to the National Assembly by defeating Dhandla. This time Mr Dhandla cannot contest the polls because of the graduation bar.
In NA-74, it is just possible that all the political parties may form an alliance against Shujaat Husain. Various political and social organizations are holding talks for an adjustment to make one-to-one fight against Shujaat Husain.
In 1985 elections, Amanullah Shahani had returned to the National Assembly from NA-61 after defeating Malik Muzaffar Khan, the son of Nawab of Kalabagh Malik Amir Muhammad Khan, with a margin of 3,000 votes with the joint struggle of Shahani and other groups, while Dhandla family supported the Nawab of Kalabagh as Ghulam Husain Dhandla was elected MNA on the ticket of the Convention Muslim League.
In 1985 partyless polls, the Shahani group had shown its superiority over the Niwani group, but in 1988 Amanullah Shahani was defeated by Rasheed Akbar Niwani with a margin of 13,000 votes. Rasheed Akbar Niwani once again failed to maintain victory in the same constituency as in 1990 Rasheed Akbar lost the elections against IJI nominee Zafarullah Khan while he was contesting as an independent candidate.
In 1993, Rasheed Akbar defeated Zafarullah Khan Dhandla, a PML-N nominee, with a margin of 17,000 votes, but once again Rasheed Akbar lost the 1997 elections against his old rival with a margin of 1,400 votes. However, the younger brother of Rasheed Akbar maintained his position by winning from his native constituency and he was elevated as a provincial minister.
During 1997 elections, a new entrant in the politics, Najeebullah Khan, the brother of ex-MPA Inamullah Khan, was elected from the PML-N platform, but this time he is likely to face a defeat as the people of his constituency are not happy with him.
The Niwani family had good terms with Nawaz Sharif as head of this family, Asghar Khan, was very close to him but they parted ways when Mr Sharif refused to grant party tickets for all seats of Bhakkar district on their recommendations.
NA-73 comprises Kallur Kot tehsil, Darya Khan, Goharwala, qanungo halqa of Mankera tehsil, Khansar qanungo halqa of Bhakkar tehsil, while NA-74 comprises Bhakkar tehsil excluding Khanser qanungo halqa, and Mankera tehsil excluding Goharwala qanungo halqa of Bhakkar district.
PP-47 comprises Kallur Kot tehsil, PP-48 comprises Darya Khan tehsil, PP-49 comprises Mankera tehsil with qanungo halqas of Khanser, Kirari Kot, Bhakkar Daggar-II, Khanpur, China Daggar excluding Behal Daggar, Notak Daggar and Cheena Dagar, while PP-50 comprises Bhakkar tehsil including qanungo halqas of Khansar, Kirari Kot, Bhakkar Daggar II, Khanpur and China Daggar qanungo halqa of Bhakkar tehsil except the patwar circles of Behal Daggar, Notak Daggar and China Daggar.