ISLAMABAD - Like some other constituencies in the country, the NA-158 of Punjab is set to witness neck-and-neck contest as former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani after his eligibility to contest the July’s polls will challenge PML-N’s Javed Ali Shah and PTI’s Muhammad Ibrahim Khan.

Both the rival candidates of the area - former minister Javed Ali Shah and Muhammad Ibrahim Khan - are being considered strong candidates to give tough time to PPP stalwart in this constituency (Multan-V).

The NA-158 seat in the 2013 general elections was grabbed by Syed Javed Ali Shah of PML-N with a big margin and PTI candidate Muhammad Ibrahim Khan and PPP’s Asad Murtaza Gilani were runner up respectively.

The major chunk of votes in the Shujabaad Tehsil (NA-158) is distributed in different areas of this constituency, including ‘Matotli’, ‘Raja Ram’, ‘Hamid Pur’, ‘Makhdoom Pur’ and in ‘Shujabad city’, wherein the political campaign is fast getting momentum. Gilani, the former prime minister of Pakistan, in his campaign with other convincing tools is also mentioning the road project ‘Shujabad express way’ executed by him during his rule.

While Javed Ali Shah, having an edge of his native town (Shujabaad), is running his political campaign mostly on ‘Motorway road project’. Ibrahim Khan from PTI is said to be focusing on his social work for this constituency to secure maximum votes. Interestingly, PPP’s Yousaf Raza Gilani and PML-N’s Javed Ali from PML-N had been in the same panel to contest in general elections in 90s.

Political observers believed that the delimitation of the constituency could prove fruitful for former prime minister Gilani as many people of the area in new the distribution are supporting him. The wings (provincial candidates from PPP) of the PPP’s candidate are still not being considered as much effective. Gilani had also won election from this area against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in 1988. Sharif had contested from four seats and lost two seats including this constituency.

Whereas Ibrahim Khan from PTI is believed to be having strong wings in the shape of strong provincial candidates of his party and this can ensure his win in the election.  They said that the delimitation of constituency might not prove favourable for PML-N’s Javed Ali Shah but his political campaign is gaining momentum.

In this battle, they believed, the actual match could be between PTI’s candidate and PPP’s candidate.

On the provincial seats of the area (PP-203, PP-204), the major parties have almost confirmed their candidates.

The provincial assembly seats in this area will also witness close contests, as from PTI Mian Tariq Abdullah and Rana Sohail Noon, PML-N’s Aijaz Noon and Rana Tahir Shabir (still ticket unconfirmed) and PPP’s Mian Kamran Mural and khurram Fareed Khakwani are the main contestants.