LAHORE - Reasonable projections could be made for some constituencies but overall the elections are always unpredictable. The uncertainty, this time too, has led almost all the big players to stand for more than one seat to maximise their chances of entry to the parliament. Another less plausible reason could be that they wanted to gauge their popularity in different regions.

Former president Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf Chairman Imran Khan and another PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi are probably the only main leaders who have filed their nomination papers from more than one province. Some other leaders too have filed their papers on multiple seats but all those fall in the same province.

The sense of insecurity is so much so that even Nawaz Sharif, who believes his PML-N is going to form the next government at the centre, is contesting for three seats – NA-68 (Sargodha) and NA-120&123 (Lahore) – all falling in Punjab, the stronghold of his party.

Imran Khan, who also dreams of PTI clean sweep, has chosen for himself NA-1 (Peshawar), NA-71 (Mianwali), NA-56 (Rawalpindi) and NA 122&125 (Lahore). PTI leader and former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is a candidate from NA 148 (Multan) and NA-228 (Umerkot).

On NA 120 (Lahore), former prime minister Nawaz Sharif faces PTI President Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, the man who ran the PML-N for many years when the Sharif family lived in exile in Saudi Arabia.

Another interesting situation has emerged in NA-139 (Kasur) where PTI leader Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri will face his former boss Gen Pervez Musharraf. Kasuri has been the foreign minister of Musharraf for five years.

Musharraf has also filed his nomination papers for NA-35 (Chitral) and NA-250 (Karachi).

Former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf will be contesting from his Gujjar Khan seat, NA-51 (Rawalpindi) while former deputy PM Pervaiz Elahi is a candidate for NA-105 (Gujrat).

Though Pervaiz Elahi’s PML-Q is in alliance with the PPP, former federal minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar will challenge him in this constituency. As per the agreement between the two parties, the seat should go to the PPP man.

The outgoing Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif is standing for NA-129 (Lahore), NA-71 (Mianwali) and PP-161 (Lahore). In case the PML-N gains majority in Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif will prefer to become chief minister once again. However, he also aspires for a leading role at the centre and that is why he is also a candidate for NA seats.

Chaudhry Nisar is also a strong candidate for the office of the Punjab chief minister. Two other aspirants for this coveted are seat is Khwaja Asif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. Ch Nisar is a candidate for three Rawalpindi seats – NA-53 and PP-6 and PP-7. Khwaja Asif is a candidate from NA-110 (Sialkot). He has also filed his papers from PP-123 (Sialkot).