BUREWALA-In NA-162, a tough fight is expected between four contestants including PTI South Punjab President Muhammad Ishaq Khan Kahkwani, PML-N’s Syed Sajid Mehdi, PPP’s Natasha Daultana and Nazir Ahmad Jatt’s daughter Arifa Jatt. NA-163 Vehari-II was comprised of rural areas of Vehari and Burewala sub-divisions in 2002 general elections. Now, the constituency includes Burewala Tehsil Qanungo Halqas of Umerpur and Joyia Banglow, Qanungo Halqas of Vehari Luddan, Machiwal and Kusam Sar and 3-R, Chak 178/EB and 186/EB. The area is basically dominated by the local landlords as Daultana, Khakwani, Saldera, Khichi, Kharal, Langrial, Borana, Tajawana, Arain, Jatt, Syed, Malik, Awan, Bhatti, Sheikh and Dogar.

In 2002 general elections, Ishaq Khakwani was elected as member of the National Assembly on PML-Q ticket while Muhammad Ayub Khan Saldera and Khalid Mahmood Chohan were elected on the provincial seats and they joined PML-Q. The reason behind Khakwani’s success was unity amongst the Khakwani family while Daultana family was divided on that time in the constituency and the rift between PML-N Tehmina Daultana and PPP candidate Shahida Mumtaz Daultana was the major reason behind their defeat in the election. Daultana family candidates Tehmina and Shahida jointly got 79,000 votes and Muhammad Ishaq Khan Khakwani won the seat by getting 61,000 votes.

In 2008 general election, the contest was amongst PML (N) Tehmina Daultana, PPP Muhammad Azeem Khan Daultana and PML-Q Muhammad Ishaq Khakwani. Muhammad Azeem Khan Daultana who was nephew of Tehmina Daultana defeated her Aunt and Muhammad Ishaq Khan Khakwani while Malik Nosher Khan Langrial and Nawab Sheharyar Khan Khakwani won the provincial seats. On 10th of January, 2012 Azeem Khan Daultana died in a car accident and in a by-election Azeem Khan Daultana sister Natasha Daultana defeated PML (N) Candidate Bilal Akbar Bhatti by a huge margin.

In 2013 general elections PML (N) awarded ticket to Syed Sajid Mehdi Saleem, PPP candidate was Natasha Daultana while Muhammad Ishaq Khan Khakwani joined PTI and Dr Arifa Nazir Jatt filed nomination papers as an independent candidate to take part in those elections. PML-N Syed Sajid Mehdi won the seat by getting 69,012 votes, PTI Ishaq Khan Khakwani got 54263, Natasha Daultana of PPP got 42283 and Arifa Nazir Jatt got 17405 votes. PLM-N candidates Bilal Akbar Bhatti and Muhammad Irfan Daultana son of Tehmina Daultana were elected members of the provincial assembly.

In 2018 general elections, PML (N) Syed Sajid Mehdi, PTI Muhammad Ishaq Khan Khakwani, PPP-P Natasha Daultana and Independent Dr Arifa Nazir Jatt are among total 9 candidates running for the election in the constituency. Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan Syed Muhammad Ismail Shah and Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI) Anwar Group, Chairman Chaudhry Muhammad Anwar are also contesting the election first time from this constituency. However, the main contest is likely between PML-N, PTI and PPP on the seat.

Independent candidate Arifa Nazir Jatt is also challenging the candidates as she formed a strong alliance with two Provincial Assembly candidates from PP-232 Ali Waqas Hanjra and PP-231 Imran Khan Saldera. Ex-MNA Nazir Ahmad Jatt had challenged the PTI candidate Muhammad Ishaq Khan Khakwani on the seat and after his decision PTI leadership withdrew the party tickets from NA-162 Vehari-I and PP-229 Vehari-I from Nazir Jatt group. Nazir Ahmad Jatt in his recent statements has also criticized PTI leaders including Imran Khan and Jahangir Tareen. He vowed to win both the seats of NA-162 and NA-163.

PML-N Candidate Syed Sajid Mehdi with the support of PML-N candidate from PP-232 Bilal Akbar Bhatti is running his campaign. Syed Salman Mehdi who is an Independent Candidate from PP-231 is running a dominant campaign in the area being supported by his elder brother and 4-time MNA and District Nazim Syed Shahid Mehdi and getting huge response. Sajid Mehdi delivered in the area with a number of the development projects including road network and up gradation of schools and hospitals.

He is facing opposition from the PML (N) leader Tehmina Daultana because his nephew Salman Mehdi is running against Tehmina Daultana’s son Irfan Daultana in PP-231. Political circles claimed Tehmina Daultana has made an under hand deal with her niece in NA-163 Natasha Daultana for the success of her son Irfan Daultana from PP-231. It could boost the chances of Natasha Daultana but inclusion of the Burewala Tehsil areas of Umerpur and Joyia Banglow Syed family are more favourable for him to win the election.

PTI’s Ishaq Khan who has been elected as MNA in 2002 and delivered with more than Rs2 billion development budget during his tenure in the area during Musharraf regime. Khakwani is running himself on the PP-231 provincial seat while for PP-232 provincial seat, Ijaz Sultan Bandesha is contesting as his second wing but due to his long absence from the constituency Ishaq Khan has low chances of the wining the election in the current scenario. He is also challenged by the PTI ticket aspirants Arifa Nazir Jatt and they are claiming of winning the election. Imran Khan’s PTI popularity could help Ishaq Khakwani win the seat as Imran Khan also scheduled a public meeting on the 11th July in Vehari. However, Ishaq Kahkwani is a gentle man and people respect him.

In 2012, PPP’s Natasha Daultana was elected MNA from this constituency in a by-election after the death of her brother Azeem Khan Daultana, she was elected MNA due to sympathy vote but in 2018 her provincial wings candidates are not available. This is first time that nobody is contesting on the PPP tickets from PP-231 and PP-232 which could affect her vote bank as ex-MPA Malik Nosher Khan Langrial is contesting as an independent candidate from PP-232 and Malik Nosher Langrial is supporting Sajid Mehdi over Natasha Daultana. Her family is supporting PML-N’s Irfan Aqeel Daultana on the provincial seat of PP-231.

Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan candidate Syed Muhammad Ismail Shah and Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI) Anwar Group Chairman Chaudhry Muhammad Anwar are contesting the elections in this constituency for the religious and farmers votes. In NA-163 constituency, tough fight is anticipated between the four big candidates.