MULTAN - At least 16 candidates filed their nomination papers for contesting by election to National Assembly’s constituency NA-151 amid sloganeering, dance and drum beating here on Tuesday.

The NA-151 seat got vacated because of disqualification of former prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and candidates backed by the PPP and PML-N filed their nomination papers.

Gilani’s son Syed Abdul Qadir Gilani submitted papers as PPP candidate while Malik Ishaq Bucha as PML-N candidate. Similarly, Malik Shaukat Hayat Bosan, brother of former federal minister and leader of Pakistan Malik Sikandar Hayat Bosan, also submitted his papers. The other candidates include Nawab Iqbal Khan Advocate, Farhan Ansari, MAhboob Alam, Shahla Shaheen, Aleem Chaudhry, Jahanzeb Bucha, Shahzaib Bucha, Hasnain Bosan, Abid Yousuf Jutt, Nawab Nadeem Udden and Syed Ali Haider Gillani.

The son of former premier Abdul Qadir Gilani came with a big procession that included office-bearers of lawyers wing, youth wing and labour federation. Three MPAs namely Usman Bhatti, Nazim Shah and Dr Akhtar Malik also accompanied him. The mob went unruly and carried out non-stop sloganeering inside the Election Commission office on arrival of Abdul Qadir Gilani.

Talking to the journalists on the occasion, Gilani junior said that he had returned to public’s court. “I have submitted my papers and I am confident that triumph will be ours,” he claimed.

The PML-N backed candidate Malik Ishaq Bucha also came with a small procession and declared that he was submitting papers on the order of the party. “I am asked by the party leadership to deposit my nomination papers and start campaign. So I did it. But I once again declare it clearly that whatever decision the party makes, I’ll accept it,” he added.

To a question, he said that he had reservations on the situation in the constituency as some opponents had held the voters hostage at gunpoint. “But despite this situation, we’ll not give up and contest the poll,” he added. Pointing his finger at Gillanis, he said that they stayed away from the residents of the constituency for four and a half years and now the masses had distanced themselves from Gillanis.

Talking to the journalists on this occasion, Malik Shaukat Bosan said that the PTI leadership did not allow Malik Sikandar Hayat Bosan to contest election and therefore he was going to run as independent candidate. “We’re fighting to protect the independence of judiciary, uproot corruption and eliminate loadshedding from the country. We’ll continue our struggle until we achieve these goals,” he added.