Since the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced the date of by-elections in the country, candidates from most political parties have submitted their nomination papers to the returning officers (ROs). That electoral exercise will be held on August 22. The federal capital’s NA-48 seat was vacated by Javed Hashmi of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and almost 49 candidates from different parties have filed their nomination papers for the constituency.
The capital’s two constituencies, NA-48 and NA-49, have always been important for the country’s politics. The NA-48 constituency is made up of mostly urban areas, with a few rural areas also taking up space.
According to the ECP, there are 282,850 eligible voters in NA-48 — 150,343 males and 132,507 females.
History tells us that this constituency has never been a stronghold of any political party. The PML-N, the PPP, and the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) candidates have all won this seat in the past. However, in the parliamentary elections held on May 11, the PTI candidate won the seat by securing 73,878 votes against PML-N candidate Anjum Aqeel Khan’s 52,205. Hashmi later stood down from this seat while retaining his native seat of Multan.
This time Asad Umar has been awarded the PTI ticket for this constituency. Surprisingly, the PML-N has yet to decide who will be awarded the ticket. The majority of the people in the constituency belong to the educated class and that was one of the reasons that the PTI won this seat. However, interestingly, the party also got sizeable number of votes from the rural areas of the constituency. PTI’s Umar is a strong contender, particularly if the party’s chairman Imran Khan is able to hold a few rallies in the capital -- like he did before the general elections.
JI candidate Mian Muhammad Aslam may not be in a winning position but the party has its own specific vote bank, which will definitely affect other candidates. The real competition is to be expected between the PML-N and the PTI. It will be interesting to see whether the PML-N will be able to win the NA-48 seat in the by-elections or if the PTI tsunami can strike again.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2013.
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