RAWALPINDI: The three national assembly and six provincial assembly constituencies of Rawalpindi are likely to see a tough fight between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidates.
According to a survey of these constituencies conducted by Daily Express, the other major political entities in the run, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Mutahidda Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) and Tehreek-e-Labaik (TL) are practically out of the race and contesting the polls only to show their physical presence felt on the ground.
The main contenders for NA-60 and NA-62 and the subsequent Punjab provincial assembly constituencies remain PTI and PML-N.
MMA has withdrawn its candidates from the all-important NA-60, while PPP and TL do not seem to have suitable candidates. These parties have lost their vote banks to PTI and PML-N.
Meanwhile, Awami Muslim League (AML) Chairman Sheikh Rasheed has a solid vote bank in both NA-60 and NA-62.
He will be up against PML-N’s Hanif Abbasi in NA-60 and Barrister Daniyal Chaudhry in NA-62, with both proving to be strong rivals.
Although, PML-N is going through turmoil, Hanif Abbasi’s strong presence in the affairs of the constituency cannot be ignored. The N league has high hopes that Abbasi can defeat Sheikh Rasheed.
In NA-61, two-time PML-N MNA and one-time MPA Malik Abrar is facing PTI’s Amir Kiyani. While Kiyani might not have a prominent role in the local politics and social life, he has the backing of PTI.
In PP-11, PML-N’s Raja Arshad Mehmood will surely get a tough time from PTI’s Chaudhry Adnan. However, in PP-16, PTI’s two-time MPA Raja Arshad Hafeez looms large in front of PML-N’s newcomer Sheikh Arsalan Hafeez.
In PP-17, PML-N has pitted its two-time MPA Raja Hanif Advocate against PTI’s former MPA Fayazul Hasan Chauhan, however, MMA’s Raza Ahmed Shah of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) could also spring a surprise in this constituency.
In PP-18, PML-N’s former MNA Shakeel Awan seems to be the clear favourite against PTI’s Aijaz Khan Jazi, however, given the political atmosphere after Supreme Court’s verdict against Nawaz Sharif, nothing can be said for sure.
In PP-14, PTI’s Muhammad Basharat Raja seems set to defeat PML-N’s Usama Chaudhry, but the latter seems to be working hard with his father Senator Chaudhry Tanveer Khan running his campaign. In PP-15, PML-N’s Malik Iftikhar Ahmed and PTI’s Umar Tanveer will face off each other in an interesting clash.
Having withdrawn from one constituency, MMA will contest for three NA and six provincial assembly seats from the city. MMA will hold a rally on July 14 in Liaquat Bagh. The NA-60 MMA nominated candidate, Qazi Muhammad Jamil of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has excused himself from the election due to ailment and has retired.
The Jamiat Ulema- e- Pakistan (JUP) backed MMA’s NA-62 candidate Tariq Munir Butt and NA-61’s Chaudhry Zafar Yasin’s election campaign is nowhere to be seen which can have negative effects on the NA seats as well as the six provincial ones. PP-11’s candidate Mufti Musarrat of JUI-F, PP-14’s Rizwan Ahmed of JI, PP-15’s Khalid Mehmood Alvi of JUP, PP-16’s former MPA Muhammad Hanif Chaudhry of JI, PP-17’s Raza Ahmed Shah of JI and PP-18’s Dr Ziaur Rehman of JUI-F are running very limited election campaigns.
Ahmed Shah seems to be the only candidate with a very different election campaign among all of MMA’s candidates. But due to MMA’s poor election campaign so far, their chances of success on July 25 does not look so bright on both national assembly and provincial assembly seats so far.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2018.