LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has finally announced its candidates for most of the National and provincial assembly constituencies of Punjab on Saturday. However, out of the 141 National Assembly seats to be contested from Punjab, PML-N has withheld decision on 28 seats. It has also left decision pending on several dozen provincial assembly constituencies.
Party spokesperson Mariyyum Aurangzeb announced that they will reveal names of the remaining candidates for Punjab in the next two days. National Assembly constituencies for which the party has withheld its decision include 14 from Southern Punjab, where the PML-N leadership is struggling to field a candidate after many of its heavyweights parted ways with the party and formed Janoobi Punjab Sooba Mahaaz, which later joined Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf.
As of now the party has only managed to field two candidates in Rahim Yar Khan with six national assembly constituencies in total, whereas only one candidate has been fielded in Bahawalnagar out of the four available seats. While party candidates from important constituencies such as Multan, Bahawalpur, Lodhran and Vehari remain undecided.
Besides, PML-N has for now not fielded any candidate against disgruntled senior party leader Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan from the two NA constituencies, NA-59 and NA-63 and two provincial seats, PP-10 and PP-12. It is pertinent to mention here that Nisar has already announced he will be running as an independent candidate.
From its provincial capital, Lahore there were no major surprises, other than the announcement of constituency of Maryam Nawaz who was declared as a candidate of NA 127 by her own media team although the initial understanding was that she would contest from NA 125. The PML-N list confirmed her candidature from NA 125 – a constituency she has already won twice for her parents in 2013, and 2017.
Party President Shehbaz Sharif will be contesting from a total of four constituencies from Punjab including NA-132, Lahore and NA-192 Dera Ghazi Khan. He will also be eyeing two provincial seats from PP-164 and PP-165. Meanwhile, Hamza Shehbaz will also look to enter the lower of house of parliament from NA-124 and the Punjab Assembly from PP-146.
Other than the three National Assembly seats bestowed upon the Sharif family, Muhammad Malik Riaz will contest from NA-123 while Mehr Ishtiaq Anwar from NA-126. Moreover, former speaker NA Sardar Ayaz Sadiq will contest polls from NA-129 while former federal minister Perveiz Malik has been selected for NA-127. Another ‘electable’ and former railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique will contest from NA-131 whereas NA-133 has been allocated to Waheed Alam Khan, a constituency that spurred quite a controversy after old party diehard Zaeem Qadri announced his rebellion against PML-N for not issuing him a ticket from the same electorate.
Meanwhile, tickets from the remaining constituencies such as NA 128, NA-130 NA-134, NA-135 and NA-136 have been given to Rohail Asghar, Khawaja Ahmed Hasan, Rana Mubashir Iqbal, Malik Saif Khokhar and Muhammad Afzal Khokhar respectively.
Moreover, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will contest elections from NA-57, Rawalpindi while senior leader Hanif Abbasi has been allotted a party ticket from NA-60.
To further consolidate their chances of attaining majority, many of PML-N veterans will be contesting from their home grounds including Khawaja Asif from NA-73, Sialkot, Ahsan Iqbal from NA-78, Narowal, Khurram Dastgir from NA-81, Gujranwala and Danyal Aziz from NA-77. While former federal and state ministers Saira Afzal Tarar, Talal Chaudhry and Abid Sher Ali will contest from NA-87, Hafizabad, NA-102, Fasialabad and NA-108 respectively. Meanwhile, former provincial minister Rana Sanaullah will also contest from two seats, NA 106 and PP 113.
Similarly, PML-N has pitched Sheikh Waqas Akram in NA 115 Jhang and Muhammad Barjees Tahir in NA 117 Nankana while other announced candidates include Mian Javed Latif from NA 121 Sheikhupura, Abdul Rehman Kanju from NA 160 Lodhran, Begum Tehmina Daultana from NA 164 Vehari, Alam Dad Laleka NA 167 Bahawalnagar, Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada, NA 171 Bahwalnagar and Saud Majeed from NA 172 Bahwalnagar.
Awais Khan Leghari has also been allotted two tickets NA-191 and PP-292 while Sher Ali Gorchani will be the party’s candidate from NA 193 and Dr Hafeez Dareshak from NA 194 Rajanpur. Surprisingly, Haroon Bukhari was allotted four tickets according to the list including two national NA-184,186 and two provincial assembly seats PP-272 & PP-275 while NA-185 remains undecided. Moreover, Mian Mohsin Wato has been given two tickets from NA-144 and PP-186, Mohsin Ata Khosa PP-287 & 289 and Sher Ali Gorchani NA-193 and PP-293.
According to a statement issued by the party, Shehbaz issued tickets for PML-N candidates from Punjab Assembly constituencies on 23rd June, 2018. The list includes names of final candidates for majority of the Punjab Assembly seats while the candidates for the remaining seats will be finalised in the coming days.
The three-time Punjab chief minister stated that PML-N has chosen candidates who demonstrated excellent performance in their constituencies, have good reputation, remained loyal to the party principles, and have the capacity to win. All candidates were finalised after going through two phases of review which included performance evaluation and candidate background checks. The first phase was district committee review and surveys and second was conducted by Parliamentary committee. He expressed positivity stating that the strong, talented and qualified pool of candidates will ensure a landslide victory in the July 25th general elections.