Election fever: PML-N factions vying for Faisalabad chairperson slot

The election commission has yet to hold polls for the top local government seats


Our Correspondent October 11, 2016
In the three-way race, the difference may well be the candidates’ ties to the top PML-N leaders, including the prime minister himself. PHOTO: AFP

FAISALABAD: The race for the coveted position of Faisalabad Zila Council chairman is on among three major factions of the PML-N with all vying to get the green light from the ruling party’s leadership to contest the elections.

Although the local body elections in Punjab for the general seats were held in December 2015, the election commission has yet to hold elections for the top seats such as the chairman, vice chairman, lord mayor, lord deputy mayor, mayor, deputy mayors of the cities and the zila councils of the province.

Following the local body elections of 2015, the PML-N had attained majority in the Zila Council House and is thus set to grab the chairman position with the PTI having 18 seats and the PPP with four likely to form the opposition.

The PML-N had grabbed all seven National Assembly and 14 provincial assembly seats comprising the rural areas of Faisalabad in the 2013 elections.

The majority of the area’s MNAs and MPAs are supporting the current frontrunner, former Faisalabad district nazim Zahid Nazir, whose younger brother Asim Nazir also happens to be a PML-N MNA from a rural area of Faisalabad.

Transporters by profession, the brothers inherited their business from their father, Nazir Ahmed who had been a key player in Faisalabad politics and served as chairman of the zila council of Faisalabad three times.

The second candidate for the chairmanship of the Faisalabad zila council is Junaid Afzal Sahi. Junaid is the son of another renowned Faisalabad politician, Afzal Sahi, who is a former Speaker of the Punjab assembly and has been elected Punjab MPA six times in addition to having served as a Punjab provincial minister thrice. Afzal’s elder brother Ghulam Rasool Sahi is a PML-N MNA.  The Sahis are prominent landowners of the area and also own a number of poultry sheds. The entire Sahi family is campaigning ceaselessly for Junaid Afzal Sahi, especially for the support of the Jatt ‘baradri’.

The third candidate aspiring to be the next chairman of the zila council is Muhammad Qasim Farooq. He is the elder son of MNA Mian Muhammad Farooq who is a former two-term zila council member, three-term MPA and a two-term MNA. Mian Muhammad Farooq is an industrialist who owns a flour mill, three other industrial units, sizeable agricultural real estate and assets worth millions of rupees.

In the three-way race, the difference may well be the candidates’ ties to the top PML-N leaders, including the prime minister himself.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2016.

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