Islamabad - The local leadership of ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) is confident to sweep the upcoming local bodies elections in the federal capital scheduled for November 30, for which the party has done a lot of spade work, be it working in the newly carved out 50 wards or the process of picking up candidates.

Background interviews with the district chapter leaders as well as the committee constituted by the prime minister to award party tickets for these elections transpired that the nine-member committee formed under the head of MNA Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry had done a marvellous job as in most of the cases the tickets were awarded with consensus to avoid fissures within the party ranks, like it had been starkly noticed in the first phase of local bodies elections in Punjab.

Some insiders in the party informed The Nation that Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif had given special direction to convener of the ticket awarding committee to follow the policy of merit and try to award party ticket to a consensus candidate in each and every ward.

The other members of the committee include Raja Azmat Javaid (president PML-N Islamabad), Raja Waqar Mumtaz (president rural area), Chaudhry Tauseef (general secretary rural area), Anjum Aqeel Khan (ex-MNA), Sajid Abbasi (general secretary city), MNA Malik Abrar Ahmed, Advocate Chaudhry Ashraf Gujjar and Advocate Sardar Mehtab.

As both Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf shared one seat each of National Assembly from the area, so the focus of the ruling PML-N would be more on National Assembly constituency 48 from where PTI leader Asad Umar had won the elections by defeating Ch Ashraf Gujjar in by-polls.

As the federal capital comprised both rural and urban areas with almost 40-60 ratio so PML-N has evolved different strategies for rural and urban areas, MNA Malik Ibrar informed The Nation as he himself is resident of one of the rural localities in the federal capital, although he had won the National Assembly elections from the constituency falling in Rawalpindi (NA-54).

In rural areas, besides keeping in view the services of candidate for the party, his penetration and approval in area clans were also kept in mind as, according to him, the dynamics of local bodies’ elections are quite different from those of general elections.

A source in the party informed that though they picked the candidates with consensus, yet in most of the cases MNA Tariq Fazal Chaudhry and Anjum Aqeel Khan prevailed and managed tickets for their favourites.

Interestingly PML-N central leader Syed Zafar Ali Shah, who remained MNA and senator, has also jumped into the fray and vying for the slot of Nazim from one of the urban constituencies of the federal capital. Sources in the party said that Syed Zafar Ali Shah is eying at the coveted slot of lord mayor of federal capital and that was the reason he has risked his whole political career by landing in the arena for this position.

Some insiders in the party said that Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry in support of other members of the committee including MNA Malik Ibrar and Anjum Aqeel Khan has cornered Ch Ashraf Gujjar and majority of his favourites were tactfully cornered while awarding the party tickets.

According to election schedule, the final list of candidates has already been displayed and polling for these elections would be held on November 30. Elections result will be announced by the Election Commission on December 03.

According to the schedule, the candidates were to submit their nomination papers between October 24 and October 27, while scrutiny of the papers was conducted between October 31 and November 04. The candidates were to withdraw their papers by Nov 10 and final list of candidates was displayed on Nov 11.

The last local government elections in Islamabad were held in 1992 under the Federal Capital Local Government Ordinance 1979, but those were limited to 12 rural union councils in the peripheries of Islamabad.