Constituency profile: Islamabad up for grabs

Published: April 23, 2013
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Judging from the scale of the election campaign, JI’s Mian Muhammad Aslam seems to be ahead of his competitors at present. DESIGN: EXPRESS

Judging from the scale of the election campaign, JI’s Mian Muhammad Aslam seems to be ahead of his competitors at present. DESIGN: EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: 

Islamabad’s two constituencies for National Assembly seats – NA 48 and NA 49 – are seemingly up for grabs in the forthcoming polls. Despite its geographical proximity to the centre, or perhaps because of it, this area could never develop into a particular party’s stronghold.

This year, too, analysts see tough competition between three mainstream parties, the PML-N, the PPP and JI, looming ahead, with PTI potentially the tie breaker.

JI takes the lead in NA 48

NA 48 was won by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) in 2002, only to be taken by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in 2008. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) candidates were runners-up both these times, bagging an impressive number of votes.

Judging from the scale of the election campaign, JI’s Mian Muhammad Aslam seems to be ahead of his competitors at present. “Aslam has been campaigning for the last five years and was JI’s bankable candidate,” said Sajjad Abbassi, JI’s information secretary in Islamabad.

Having won the 2002 polls, Aslam was a strong candidate in 2008, as well, before his party decided to boycott elections.There are over 30 people contesting the seat, including first timers like PPP’s Faisal Sakhi Butt and heavyweights like Makhdoom Javed Hashmi. PML-N’s Anjum Aqeel Khan is plagued by scandal. He lost the bulk of his goodwill during his five-year tenure, rocked by a real estate scandal, and even served time in jail. According to sources, he is the party’s candidate only because of a lack of options.

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New challenges for PML-N in NA 49

In 2008, PML-N’s Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry won the seat by a very slim margin, despite enjoying a powerful biradari (clan) vote. This time, the PPP and PML-Q have teamed up against him. Furthermore, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and JI, who boycotted 2008 elections, have also fielded strong candidates to give Chaudhry a run for his money.
Analysts say he still has a good chance, but ‘upset may just occur’. There are a total of 58 candidates in the race for this seat, but the real contest is between PPP’s Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, JI’s Zubair Farooq Khan, PTI’s Malik Illyas Meherban and, of course, PML-N’s Chaudhry.

No independent candidate poses a real threat

The PPP has chosen Khokhar over Bokhari, who had defeated Khokhar in 2002 by a large margin. Bokhari is currently chairman of the Senate. A local PML-N worker said Khokhar is a tough competitor for Chaudhry, as JI and PTI candidates will break into some of the PML-N vote bank. Furthermore, the PML-Q has decided not to field its candidate against Khokhar, as a result of seat adjustment between the two parties. JI awarded its ticket to Zubair Farooq Khan very early on. While he is considered as one of the strongest candidates, some party workers are not optimistic. “His family constituency is NA-48, where Mian Aslam is contesting,” said a JI worker. PTI’s Meherban, a certain choice for his party, is an influential agriculturist and educationist from the Tarlai Kalan area. Although considered a strong candidate, it remains to be seen whether he can topple the top three.

Voting patterns

At least two dominant families exercise their influence within NA 48. This constituency comprises half of Islamabad’s urban area and the demarcated territory of Sangjani, Golra Sharif, Shah Allah Ditta, Serai Kharbuza, Tarnol, Madhu and other rural areas. Voting patterns in NA 49 are influenced by the biradari system and some personality cult. The constituency comprises largely rural areas. The Bokharis, Khokhars and Chaudhrys all enjoy a considerable biradari vote. Major urban areas include Chak Shehzad, Humak Town, Sohan, Industrial Area and Rawat, while the rural areas include Tarlai Kalan, Pind Begwal, Kirpa, Dhok Natha, Pandori, Loi Bher, Pir Sohawa, Nur Pur Shahan and Sheikhpur.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd, 2013. 

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Reader Comments (20)

  • Ali
    Apr 23, 2013 - 8:59AM

    These profiles are really poorly done. I’ve been reading these profiles lately and they are quite broken. You’ve conveniently forgotten Javed Hashmi in NA 48 who is the president of a political party. Wonder what his chances are because, last I remember, he swept in 2008 at NA-55. Granted it was a PML N ticket them but he still is a president of a leading party and warrants a mention. Recommend

  • Taimour
    Apr 23, 2013 - 10:21AM

    Its Chaudhry Ilyas Mherban from PTI not Malik ! and we are voting for BAT ! Come what may !

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  • ikhlaas
    Apr 23, 2013 - 11:05AM

    Agree, Pti is yet to start an effective campaign there. Pti has massive support in islamabad but campaign has to be vigorous.

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  • Major Facepalm
    Apr 23, 2013 - 11:15AM

    Who’s Mian Muhammad Aslam???………hardly know him….ET i think u need to re assess the situationRecommend

  • rizwan
    Apr 23, 2013 - 11:23AM

    Both seats are PTI. 48 is walk in Park for PTI and 49 is our as well.

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  • Usama
    Apr 23, 2013 - 11:44AM

    Am in NA49, voting for PTI!

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  • bilafond
    Apr 23, 2013 - 12:17PM

    PTI it is for me — I am in 49

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  • bilafond
    Apr 23, 2013 - 12:18PM

    PTI it is for me

    Recommend

  • Abdullah
    Apr 23, 2013 - 12:23PM

    JI`s Mian Muhammad Aslam wil probably win NA-48. He has a very good reputation in our constituency.

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  • OliverKahn
    Apr 23, 2013 - 12:32PM

    Mian Aslam has a strong support in Islamabad. The turnout has to be very high if PTI wants to win both seats in Islamabad. Otherwise, it will be Mian Aslam and Tariq Chaudhary.

    Recommend

  • ABKhan
    Apr 23, 2013 - 12:48PM

    I am from Loi Bher and my VOTE is for PTI

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  • Zulfiqar
    Apr 23, 2013 - 1:09PM

    PPP stands nowhere, PML-N will give tough fight only on NA-49 but ground reality is PTI will win both the seats.

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  • M@ni
    Apr 23, 2013 - 2:04PM

    Like it or not but the fact is Mian Aslam is clearly leading the way through it’s extraordinaly impressive campaign.

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  • Omair
    Apr 23, 2013 - 4:26PM

    @Ali:
    the article discusses Islamabad seats and not Rawalpindi seats. NA-55 is in Rawalpindi.

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  • Ibnulajami
    Apr 23, 2013 - 4:58PM

    @Major Facepalm:
    Mr, if u dont know something, this would not imply that it deos does not exist. You probably dont live in NA 48. One who lives here knows Mian Aslam, and knows that he is way ahead of all other contestants.

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  • Usman
    Apr 23, 2013 - 5:53PM

    @Major Facepalm:
    And sir, you need to open your eyes and ears and you will know who Mian Muhammad Aslam is !

    Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Apr 23, 2013 - 6:10PM

    As prevalent in the rest of the country, PTI Trolls are also living in Lala Land around Islamabad as well.

    Recommend

  • Junaid
    Apr 23, 2013 - 6:15PM

    @Major Facepalm:
    I think you never visit islamabad…..

    Recommend

  • waqas
    Apr 25, 2013 - 11:07AM

    i am from NA 48 and two strong candidates are javed hashmi and mian aslam i am voting for Pti

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  • Major Facepalm NA 48
    Apr 25, 2013 - 1:38PM

    I still dont know who Mian Aslam is….seriously… but one thing i know is that there is a “BIG BAT” to take care of him.

    Recommend

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