Baqaul Mohsin and Muhammad AFzaal Hameed

BAHAWALPUR - Constituency 185 for the National Assembly (NA-185) consists of PP- 271 Bahawalpur V and PP-272 Bahawalpur VI that comprise 26 union counsels of the city and Sadder areas with 327,438 voters (180,850 male and 146,588 female), with a decrease from 364,465 due to the preparation of new voters’ lists.

The people of the constituency cast their votes because of the popularity of candidates and not because of political parties’ names. In some areas, people cast votes because of political parties’ role. The villagers support candidates in elections on the basis of families and directives of their landlords as Farooq Azam Malik was elected as MNA in 1988 elections on the PPP ticket and later in the 2002 elections, he was also elected on the ticket of the Millat Party. He defeated Sardar Muhammad Hussain Advocate of PPP who got 23,184 votes while Mrs Gul-e-Raana, who was the sister of Sammiullah Chaudry, the chairman of Task Force Punjab of PML-N, grabbed 13,515 votes and Maulana Haq Nawaz Qamer of MMA got 12,148 votes.

People belonging to Seraiki, Punjabi and migrated families are in majority in the constituency while Channer, Joya, Araien, Jat and Baloch have political influence. In urban areas, majority of voters support the PML-N while PPP is more popular than the N League in rural areas.

PML-N’s Engr Mian Baligur Rehman was elected as MNA in the 2008 election by getting 54,334 votes and won the election with the margin of 7,000 votes by defeating Farooq Azam Malik who contested the election on the PPP ticket. Azam got 47,337 votes. The voters’ turnout remained 37.59 % in the general election of 2002 and decreased in 2008 elections with 33.97%. Baligur Rehman, the Adviser to Punjab Chief Minister, and MPA Samiullah Chaudhry are interested in competing election for the MNA slot.

Muhammad Farooq Azam Malik is well known personality of the area having good repute. He has served as Mayor of Bahawalpur, member of the National Assembly and remained minister of state for railways and is now the president of Bahawalpur National Awami Party. The constituency is the hometown of Ameer Jamaat e Islami Punjab Dr Syed Wasim Akhtar. He had been elected as MPA twice on the ticket of IJI and MMA. Syed Salman Gardezi, Muhammad Hussain Azad, Sardar Muhammad Hussain Khan Baloch Advocate and Sahibzada Munawar Hayat Abassi are in the race to get the ticket of Pakistan People’s Party for this constituency. But only Gardezi is in a position to upset the other candidates.

Mian Farzand Ali Goheer, Abdul Mueed Bukhari, former union council nazims, are expected to compete from the platform of Tehreek-e-Insaf. Abdul Mueed Bukhari remained Tehsil Naib Nazim of Bahawalpur City.

PP-271 consists of totally urban areas of Bahawalpur city. The total number of registered voters is 163,899. The trend, attitude and priorities of voters are different from others constituencies. They vote only for personalities instead of parties.

In the 2002 elections, Dr Syed Wasim Akhtar was elected as MPA from the platform of Muttahida Majlis-e-Aml by getting 21,078 votes and with the margin of 11,000 votes. He defeated PPP’s Syed Taseerul Hassan who got 10,396 votes while the PML-N’s candidate Syed Abdul Moeed Bukari could get only 7,794 votes. 44,448 voters cast their votes in the election out of 132,902 and the turnover remained 33.44%.

Haji Zulfiqar Ali of PML-N was elected as MPA in the 2008 elections by getting 28,107 votes and defeated PPP’s Safdar Shebaz who got 17,385 votes. Turnover decreased from 33.44% to 29.45% in the election.

In the forthcoming election, MPA Zulfiqar Ali, Samiullah and Aqeel Najam Hashmi are interested in competing for the seat. JI’s Wasim Akhtar will also contest from the constituency. Syed Taseerul Hassan has defected the PPP and joined the PPP-Shaheed Bhutto. Abbas Raza, Muhammad Amir Malik and Mehmood of PTI, Usman Farooq Malik of BNAP, Safder Shebaz, Sahibzada Munawer Hayat Abbasi and Sardar Riaz Ahmed Dher and Syed Tabish Alvari will contest from this constituency.

PP-272 consists mostly of rural population. Politics of the area moved around personalities. The total number of registered voters is 163,539. In 2002 and 2008 elections, PML-N’s Malik Muhammad Iqbal Channar was elected as MPA by getting 27,873 votes in 2002 and 34,246 votes in 2008 elections. He defeated PPP’s Zafer Iqbal who got 19,437 votes and PML-Q’s Ejaz Safder Gill who got 18,127 votes.

Malik Iqbal Channer, Muhammad Saleem Bhatti and Sajid Bukhari, Mohsin Bukari and Asgher Joya will contest from the area. Tariq Basheer Cheema has been district nazim and Punjab minister twice.