ISLAMABAD - From Chattar to Aabpara, both urban and rural area of NA-53 constituency of Islamabad, two political stalwarts Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Imran Khan are in a close contest as compared to rest of the contenders for July 25 polls.

The political campaign in the scorching heat is gaining momentum as main organisers of contenders with warm smiles on their faces in political camps are busy convincing the area’s people to cast vote in favour of their candidates.

The political hustle-bustle in the area would further gain vigour with the expected arrival of Nawaz Sharif along with Maryam Nawaz on July 13 around two weeks before the general elections.

On the same day, PTI chief Imran Khan is also expected to give a boost to his election campaign in constituencies of Islamabad including NA-53.

Other main candidates in NA-53, (renamed from NA-49 after delimitation of constituencies), are PPP’s Sibtl-ul-Haider Bukhari Shah, Mian Aslam from Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), Dr Muhammad Amjad Chaudhry, All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) and others will contest the election.  Total of 19 contenders - ten independents - are contesting the elections from the constituency.

From MMA’s Mian Muhammad Aslam, APML’s Dr Amjad Chaudhary, Ayesha Gulali,  Asif Fazal Chaudhary, Amjad Masi, Chaudhry Naved, Raja Qadeer , Zaib ur Rehinan, Syed Amjad are the other contestants.

This constituency (NA-53) had a stronghold of Pakistan Muslim League-N for the last one decade (13th and 14th National Assembly), as Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhary (now contesting from NA-52) was elected to the lower house on the PML-N ticket from this area.

The NA-53 area is basically divided into both rural and urban areas and

shortage of water has remained the main issue of this constituency, which is likely to go against the PML-N in the election.

The PML-N had decided to field former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi from this constituency mainly to give a tough time to the PTI head.

Abbasi, after inaugurating the political offices in this area, has twice arranged corner meetings with the people of the area. Now, he handed over reins to his son to vigorously continue electioneering in the area.

Although the people of this area are unhappy over the water shortage issue, still the position of PML-N candidate is comparatively better. The position of PML-N candidate in the rural areas, including Phulgra, Malpur, Bari Imam and others is comparatively better than the PTI stalwart.

PML-N contender is also contesting election from Rawalpindi’s NA-57 (old NA-50) against PTI’s Sadaqat Abbasi as well as PPP’s Mehreen Anwar Raja. The gas connections, sewerage, construction of roads are the plus points of PML-N to grab the attention of the people.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), the second main party from this area, has remained a bit indecisive to award ticket to a suitable candidate in the area. Two main PTI’s members Ilyas Mehrban and Amir Kiani were considered to contest general elections but later Imran Khan himself decided to contest from the area.

The PTI’s political campaign with the help of three members of the party Ilyas Mehrban, Amir Kiani and Zulfi Bukhari is in full swing.

PTI chief Imran Khan will visit his area on Friday to hold corner meetings to further boost up political campaign.

Imran Khan is contesting from five constituencies, including Mianwali in these elections. He might decide to award ticket to Ilyaas Mehrban or Ali Nawaz in this area after winning from more than one seat.

British national Zulfi Bukhari, prominent on the big banners outside election offices of PTI, is mainly leading the campaign for PTI in NA-53. He has also faced criticism for running a campaign of PTI despite having dual nationality.

PPP’s Sibtl-ul- Haider Bukhari Shah, brother of Nayar Bukhari is also running his campaign in the area. Bukhari with his brother is holding corner meetings in both rural and urban areas of the constituency.

Mian Aslam is challenging both PTI Chief Imran Khan and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi from the platform of MMA in NA-53.

The MMA, an alliance of religious political parties, was revived just before elections with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Jamiat Ahle-e-Hadith, Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan-Noorani (JUP-N) and Tehreek-e-Islami (TI) are making hectic efforts to bag a maximum number of seats at the federal and provincial levels to become viable contenders for power.

The people of this area, sharing the problems of the constituency, say that the shortage of water in the area is the main issue and it should be resolved this time.

They were asking the main contenders to assure them smooth supply of water in their area.

The second main issue is the congested road in Bharakhu area (mainly Murree road in this constituency), as traffic jam is often witnessed on this road. They are asking to widen this road for the smooth flow of traffic.