MULTAN

As many as 14 candidates are finally in the run for PP-196 seat as 20 others withdrew their nomination papers on the last day for withdrawal here on Friday, sources in Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) disclosed.

The ECP will display final list of the candidates and allot electoral signs to them today (Saturday) while the polling will take place on May 21.

The PP-196 seat had got vacated because of disqualification of Ch Abdul Waheed Arrain, who had won in 2013 election on PML-N ticket and was elevated as provincial minister for prisons. However, his electoral opponent Rana Abdul Jabbar, a PTI candidate, filed a petition against him in the election tribunal, which declared him ineligible on charges of keeping two National Identity Cards.

The ECP sources said that those vying for the by-election included Rana Mahmoodul Hassan, Rana Abdul Jabbar, Habib Ullah Ansari, Sheikh Muhammad Younus, Zulqarnain, Muhammad Siraj, Muhammad Hussain Ansari, Muhammad Waseem, Talib Ali, Asif Rasool Awan, Bashir Akhtar, Sakhawat Ali, Nasreen Akhtar and Prof. Latif Ansar Lajpal.

Sources added that PML-N candidate Rana Mahmoodul Hassan, PTI's Rana Abdul Jabbar, All Pakistan Muslim League's Habib Ullah Ansari, PPP's Muhammad Hussain Arrain and Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen's Sakhawat Ali had also submitted tickets issued to them by their parties.

Meanwhile, the electioneering also picked up in the constituency as the supporters of candidates launched canvassing campaigns. Sources said that a team comprising many MPAs had reached Multan to run campaign of PML-N candidate Rana Mahmoodul Hassan. The team is consisted of MPAs Hammad Nawaz Tipu, Abdul Aleem Shah, Alamdar Qureshi, Naem Khan Bhabha, Ijaz Achlana and Mian Shahzad Maqbool Bhutta as well as Ch Zeeshan, political secretary to Hamza Shahbaz. The PML-N sources said that a meeting was also held at the residence of Rana Mahmoodul Hassan where committees were formed to run campaign at union council level. It is learnt that each committee is led by an MPA.

On the other hand, vice chairman of PTI Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi looked very active in the constituency. PTI sources said that he was going to hold a string of public meetings in different parts of the constituency to gather support for his candidate.

However, no considerable activity was seen in PPPP's camp, though the newly appointed city president Usman Bhatti claimed that his party would win the by-election.

Rs155m for beautification

A high official of Multan Metro Bus Project disclosed on Thursday that the Metro Bus Authority (MBA) will give Rs155 million to the Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) for the beautification of Metro route and turning it green.

The Chief Engineer of the project Sabir Khan Saddozai told the journalists that the estimate to preserve and shift 19,000 plants from the route of Metro stood at Rs30 million and the estimate was being analysed by the consultant before making payment to the PHA.  He said that the landscaping of entire town would be done and green belts would be established under flyovers.

He disclosed that the engineers had surveyed entire 18 kilometre long route of Metro Bus while red ribbon had been installed on the portions of Bosan Road where work was being started. He disclosed that the three contractors of the project had arranged 20 rigs machines and 18 transit mixer vehicles while the process to stock cement and other items was also underway. He said that the work would begin as soon as the construction material was stocked.

Meanwhile, the Director of PHA Ch Naseer disclosed that the plants shifted from Metro route would be planted in different areas of the city in upcoming plantation drive. He said that 11 big date trees were located on the route which would also be shifted soon.