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Kashmiris, Arains to decide NA-110 winner

September 24, 2002

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SIALKOT, Sept 23: The biradarism has always played a pivotal role in the city’s political scenario. This time, too, the political match is between the Kashmiris and the Arains.

PML-N’s Khawaja Muhammad Asif, PPP’s Raja Aamir Khan and PML-QA’s Mian Muhammad Riaz are in the run for NA-110. The three main parties have adopted an identical strategy for NA-110 and PP-122 by fielding panels with having the representation of the two communities.

Once the stronghold of the PML-N, the NA-110 constituency mostly comprises urban areas. Two independent candidates Shahid Iqbal and Abdul Rehman are also in the field.

The NAB had taken Khawaja Asif into its custody soon after the military takeover. Later, he was released for the lack of any corruption evidence against him.

Political pundits say that Khawaja Asif will have to make struggle this time for he had in the past paid no attention in resolving the problems of his voters. He mostly stayed in his Lahore residence when he was in power during the Nawaz government. However, he claims to have the support of his Kashmiri biradari.

The PML-QA has fielded former SCCI president Mian Muhammad Riaz who belongs to the Arain biradari. He is a newcomer in politics and not much could be predicted about him.

The PPP candidate, Raja Aamir Khan, is also a potential candidate having enough political influence in the city.

Khawaja Asif has taken Arain biradari’s candidate Ch Ikhlaq Ahmad in PML-N’s electoral panel for PP-122 in getting maximum support from the Arain biradari.

Similarly, Mian Muhammad Riaz has taken Kashmiri biradari’s candidate Mir Muhammad Daud in PML-QA’s electoral panel for PP-122 to attract the Kashmiri biradari.

Kashmiri biradari’s Raja Aamir Khan has also adopted the same strategy against his rival candidates. He has also taken the opponent biradari’s Ch Azhar Hassan in his electoral panel for PP-122.

Meanwhile, at least seven candidates are contesting for NA-115. This constituency has also been a stronghold of the PML-N.

PML-QA’s Ch Muhammad Naseer Khan, PPP’s Muhammad Akbar Kahilon, PML-N’s Muhammad Rafiq and MMA’s Hafiz Tahir Aslam are all claiming for their victory.

While Sumera Yasir Rashid is the strongest among the three independent candidates.

Akbar Kahilon (PPP) was defeated by PML-N candidates in 1990 and 1997 polls. JI’s Hafiz Aslam is a newcomer.

Former MPA Ch Naseer Khan contested the 1997 elections as an independent candidate and could manage only 2,458 votes.

Political observers are of the opinion that the divided PML votes will likely to benefit the PPP candidate.