MULTAN - MUHAMMAD IRTAZA - The PML-N is learnt to have finalised the names of its ticket holders from different constituencies of Multan and a formal announcement is likely to be made in a day or two.  The PPPP has already announced its candidates from the entire South Punjab. Like PML-N, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) is also testing the nerves of applicants for its tickets and has not announced the names of its ticket holders from Multan so far. It is for the first time in South Punjab’s political history that the entire political activity revolves around party tickets. Majority of politicians from this region have set aside their party affiliations and the only target they want to achieve is to get a party ticket for the election.

The delay in announcement of the names of ticket holders also reflects that the political parties have adopted the ‘wait and see’ policy to decrease the risk to maximum extent. A strong feeling prevails among political circles that a string of party defections will take place once all the political parties announce the names of their tickets holders. That is why both PML-N and PTI have adopted a wiser strategy. Both the parties plan to delay announcement of the names of their ticket holders with a view to leaving those ready to defect with no other option except to stay in their parties.

A large number of PML-N leaders and workers have applied for tickets from almost all constituencies of Multan and majority of them look determined to contest the election. The party workers and leaders have developed a mindset that setting a stage and making arrangements for public meetings of their leaders is not their ultimate destination and contesting election is also their right. This fact is evident from the higher number of nomination papers filed by workers and local office bearers of all political parties. The workers and leaders have not only launched their election campaigns but also hurled threats at their parties publicly that they will contest election as independents if they are not given tickets.

The parties have once again preferred either old faces or their next generations. Besides the senior ones, the youngsters of Gilanis, Qureshis, Hashmis, Noons, Dogars, Shahs and Dehars are also vying for different seats in Multan district. The figures reveal that at least six members of just Gilani family are in the run from different constituencies of the district. Four sons, one nephew and a brother of former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani are candidates from different constituencies. His son Ali Musa Gilani is a PPPP candidate from NA-148 and his other son Syed Ali Qasim Gillani is his covering candidate from the same constituency. Similarly, Syed Abdul Qadir Gilani is a PPPP candidate from NA-151 while Syed Ali Haider Gilani is his covering candidate. Gilani’s younger brother, Ahmad Mujtaba Gillani, is a PPPP candidate from NA-152 while Gilani’s nephew Asad Murtaza Gillani has applied for PML-N ticket from the same constituency. Similarly, three Qureshis – Shah Mahmood, his son Zain Hussain and his brother Mureed Hussain – are also in the run from different platforms. The former foreign minister is a PTI candidate from NA-148 and NA-150 while his son Zain Hussain Qureshi is his covering candidate from NA-148. Mureed Hussain Qureshi is a PPPP candidate from PP-201.

PTI President Makhdoom Javed Hashmi and his daughter Maimoona Hashmi are also contesting from separate constituencies. Javed Hashmi has submitted nomination papers from NA-149 and his daughter Maimoona from PP-200. Dogars have always played a vibrant role in Multan’s local politics. Former senator late Malik Salahuddin Dogar’s son Malik Aamir Dogar is a PPPP candidate from NA-149 while his younger brother Adnan Dogar is contesting from PP-198. The Noons of Shujabad are contesting election from three seats. Former MNA Rana Shaukat Hayat Noon’s son Rana Ijaz Noon is likely to be a PML-N candidate from PP-204 while his cousin, former tehsil nazim Rana Sohail Noon, is a PPPP candidate from NA-152 and ex-provincial minister Rana Qasim Noon from NA-153. Similarly, Senator Javed Ali Shah can be a PML-N candidate from NA-152 while his cousin Mujahid Ali Shah has submitted nomination papers from PP-204 as an independent candidate.

The current political scenario indicates that all major political families of Multan region are in the run with their new faces. Although all of them are looking at their political parties for confirmation of their tickets, most of them are all set to move to another platform in case their applications are turned down.