GUJRANWALA/BUREWALA-The Election Commission of Pakistan has allowed prisoners to cast their votes through postal ballots as the jail administration has sent the prisoners’ lists to the returning officers for issuance of ballot papers.

According to details, 197 prisoners in Central Jail Gujranwala have showed their interest to cast the votes in the General Elections 2018. It was directed by the Election Commission that after fulfilling the requirements, the ballot papers be sent to the returning officers within the given time positively.

Meanwhile, the electioneering is gaining momentum as major political parties including PML-N, PTI and PPP have withdrawn their party tickets from candidates in NA-162 Vehari-I, PP-229 Vehari-I and PP-230 Vehari-II.

The PML-N has got a major jerk as the nomination papers of its candidate from NA-162 Chaudhry Nazir Ahmad Arain, who was the winner of 2013 elections, were rejected by the returning officer and Election Applet Tribunal Multan. Later, he fielded his elder brother, a retired banker, Chaudhry Faqir Arain, as the candidate for NA-162. For the provincial seat, he openly opposed the selection of former MPA Chaudhry Irshad and selected former MPA Yousaf Kaselia in PP-229 and Sardar Khalid Mehmood Dogar Advocate in PP-230.

Chaudhry Irshad Ahmad Arain who had joined the PML-N after quitting the PPP in 2010 by-election announced that he would contest the elections as an independent candidate in PP-230. PML-N is facing difficulties due to the awarding tickets to weaker candidates while the rift between the party and separation of Chaudhry Irshad Ahmad Arain will dent the party in the coming elections, local people said.

Meanwhile, the PTI has withdrawn its ticket from Ayesha Nazir Jatt and her father Nazir Ahmad Jatt for PP-229 as Ayesha was contesting election for NA-162 and her sister Dr Arifa Nazir Jatt was contesting elections as independent candidate in NA-163. Jatt family was refused PTI tickets because of their decision of contesting election in NA-163 against PTI South Punjab President and former Minister Muhammad Ishaq Khan Khakwani.

It awarded tickets to ex-MPA Khalid Mehmood Chohan for NA-162, Humyoun Fareed Chishtti for PP-229 and Sardar Khalid Nisar Dogar for PP-230. It also withdrew party ticket from former MPA Abdul Hameed Bhatti in PP-230 who is now contesting election on Nazir Jatt’s panel.

The Jatt group joined PTI in 2016 by-election of PP-233 after quitting PML-N. Nazir Jatt fielded his daughter Ayesha Nazir Jatt in NA-162, Chaudhry Usman Ahmad Warraich in PP-229 and Abdul Hameed Bhatti in PP-230.

Nazir Jatt also got ticket of Tehrik Allah-o-Akbar for his wife Abida Adeeb in PP-229. In 2013 general elections, the family contested on six seats including NA-167, 168 and 169, and three provincial assembly seats but lost all the seats by huge margin.

Burewala has a great political history as many local clans including Joyia, Langrial and Khakwani are present even before the partition. After the partition, Arain, Jatt, Rajpoot, Dogar, Gujjar, Bhatti and other families were settled and started playing an important role in the local politics. In 1980s, two big political parties PPP and PML emerged. Syed Shahid Mehdi Naseem with the help of local clans joined the PML platform while Qurban Ali Chohan along with Jatt, Rajpoot and other small baradaris joined PPP. Syed Shahid Mehdi was elected as MNA for four times and Qurban Ali Chohan elected MPA and MNA for one each term.

In 2002, Pervez Musharraf government held general elections and both the rivals contested against each other. They were forced to support Chaudhry Nazir Jatt who made strong entry in politics contesting the District Nazim election. He was defeated by a narrow margin and amazed the political pundits with his political entry. He impressed the people by his bold criticism against seasoned politicians.

In 2002 general elections, Nazir Jatt contested election on PML-Q ticket and got 76217 votes and defeated Mehmood Akhtar Grumman of PPP who got 54142 votes. After election, he worked hard for the welfare of the people and it was his efforts that Burewala and 12 other cities of South Punjab got natural gas facility.

Nazir Ahmad Jatt resigned from his MNA seat in 2010 fearing disqualification in bogus degree case and was disqualified by the Supreme Court. He announced to contest election before trial of his case and PML-N refused to award him party ticket. PPP leadership wanted to use his charisma to win first by-election in the Punjab. However, he was barred from contesting by-election after a Supreme Court decision against him. On other side, thousands of banners, portraits and posters of the contesting candidates have also been removed from different areas for violation of Code of Conduct issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan.

The ECP had issued the Code of Conduct to make portraits of 2x3 feet, banners 3x9 feet, posters 18x23 inches and handbills of 6x9 inches. There is also a ban on the use of flex banners and posters as well as wall wall-chalking. The administration warned the candidates that a report of the violations will be sent to the ECP. The operation will be conducted every day till the completion of the general elections and no relaxation will be given to anyone, it stated.