LAHORE  -  Although election in each constituency has its significance, over 70 of the total 272 National Assembly seats carry more significance because of the contest of heavyweights on them.

Many of the total seats where heads and bigwigs of political parties are contesting fall in Punjab. Elections where political bigwigs are in the field are not only creating excitement among the voters of the respective constituencies, the people of the rest of the country, political pundits and poll observes are also closely monitoring the situation over there and have started guesswork about the possible results.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan is contesting on five NA constituencies and he chose all most difficult seats from where the former MNAs are not only from his opposite parties but are also considered the strongmen of the area. Imran chose NA-35 (Bannu) against JUI-F senior leader and former KP CM Akram Khan Durrani and NA-53 (Islamabad) against former PM Shahid KhaqanAbbasi of PML-N. Although NA-95 (Mianwali) is considered Imran’s home constituency, PML-N’s Ubaidullah Shadikhail was the last-time winner on this seat. PML-N strongman Khawaja Saad Rafique is the PTI chairman’s rival from Lahore’s NA 131 and MQM-P head Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui is in the field against Imran from Karachi’s NA-243.

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif is also contesting on five NA seats and four of them are considered tricky to be won by the former Punjab CM. Shehbaz’s rivals are not known political personalities on all the five seats, but he chose difficult areas of NA-3 (Swat) and NA-249 and NA-250 of Karachi. PTI’s Mansha Sandhu is Shehbaz challenger in Lahore’s NA-132 and Sardar Muhammad Khan Leghari of PTI is contesting against the PML-N president from DG Khan’s NA-192.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is set to start his parliamentary politics from the two safest seats considered stronghold of the party. He is contesting from Larkana’s NA-200 and NA-246, Karachi South-I. PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari is also contesting from his hometown, Shaheed Benazirabad (old Nawabashah), NA-213, against PTI’s Farooq Ahmed Chandio.

JUI-F chief and head of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal Maulana Fazlur Rehman is contesting from his two constituencies, NA-38 and NA-39, of his hometown DI Khan, against PTI’s outspoken leader Ali Amin Gandapur and Yaqoob Sheikh, respectively.

The contest of PML-N’s Maryam Nawaz from his father and ousted PM Nawaz Sharif’s Lahore constituency NA 125 against PTI’s Dr Yasmin Rashid has also become a centre of attention.

PML-N estranged leader Ch Nisar Ali Khan is contesting on NA-59, Rawalpindi, and NA-63, Taxila, as an independent candidate. PTI fielded Ghulam Sarwar Khan against him on both constituencies. PML-N, PPP and other parties’ candidates are also in the field against the former interior minister.

Awami Muslim League head Sheikh Rashid is in the field with the support of PTI on Rawalpindi’s two constitutes, NA 60 and NA-62. PML-N’s Hanif Abbasi and Daniyal Ch are his rivals on both the seats, respectively.

Former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi along with Islamabad contest against Imran Khan is also candidate from his hometown constituency NA-57, Rawalpindi, against PTI’s Sadaqat Ali Abbasi.

PPP’s former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani is in the field from his hometown, NA-158, Multan, against Muhammad Ibrahim Khan of PTI and Syed Javed Ali Shah of PML-N. Similarly, PPP’s other former PM Raja Pervez Ashraf is contesting from NA-58, Rawalpindi, against Ch Azeem of PTI and Raja Javed Ikhlas of PML-N.

ANP chief Asfandyar Wali is a candidate from NA-24, Charsadda, against Fazal Muhammad Khan of PTI. PPP, MMA and PML-N have yet to announce their candidates on the seat.

NA-247, Karachi constituency, is one of the few constituencies which have become important due to contest among heavyweights on it. Jamaat-e-Islami Karachi chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman, PSP’s Fauzia Kasuri, MQM-P leader Dr Farooq Sattar, PTI’s Dr Arif Alvi and rights activist Jibran Nasir (independent) are candidates from the area.

PSP chief Mustafa Kamal, PPP’s Amjadullah Khan, PTI’s Ashraf Jabbar are contesting from NA-253, Karachi.

Syed Khurshid Shah, former opposition leader of the National Assembly, is contesting from his hometown, NA-206, Sukkur, and Syed Naveed Qamar of PPP is also a candidate from his hometown, NA-228, Tando Muhammad Khan.

Former KP CM Parvez Khattak is contesting from NA-25, Noshera, where PTI dissident Ayesha Gulalai is also running against him from the same area.

ANP senior leader Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour is a candidate from his home constituency, NA-31, Peshawar, which was earlier NA-1.

PML-Q leader Ch Parvez Elahi is contesting from Chakwal’s NA-65 with seat adjustment with PTI. He is also contesting from his hometown Gujrat’s NA-69 against Ch Mubashir Hassan of PML-N.

PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi is contesting from his hometown, Multan NA-156, against PML-N’s Amir Saeed Ansari. He is also a candidate from NA-220, Umarkot, and NA-221, Tharparkar. Qureshi’s son Zain Qureshi is a candidate on PTI ticket from NA-157, Multan, against PML-N’s Ghaffar Dogar.

PML-N strongman Khawaja Asif is contesting against PTI Usman Dr from NA-73, Sialkot. PTI spokesman Fawad Ch is contesting from NA-67, Jhelum (now disqualified). PTI’s Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan is contesting from Sialkot, NA-72. PML-N leaders Daniyal Aziz and Ahsan Iqbal are contesting from NA-77 and NA-78, Narowal, against PTI’s Tariq Rasheed and Ibrarul Haq, respectively.

Engineer Khurram Dastgir is contesting against PTI’s Ch Siddique from NA-81, Gujranwala. PTI’s Nazar Gondal is contesting from NA-86, Mandi Bahauddin. Saira Afzal Tarar of PML-N is facing Ch Shaukat Bhatti of PTI in NA-87, Hafizabad.

In NA 88, Sargodha, Nadeem Afzal Chan of PTI is facing Dr Mukhtar Ahmed Basharat of PML-N. In NA-89, Sargodha, Shahnawaz Ranjha of PMLN will face Usama Ahmed Mela of PTI. In Faisalabad’s NA-102, Talal Ch of PML-N is facing Nawab Sher Waseer of PTI. Rana Sanaullah of PML-N is in the field against Nisar Jat of PTI in NA-106. In NA-108, Abid Sher Ali of PML-N will meet Farrukh Habib of PTI. In NA-110, Raja Riaz of PTI is in the field against Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan of PML-N.

PPP strongman Faisal Saleh Hayat is contesting against Mehboob Sultan of PTI from Jhang, NA-114.

Jamaat Ahle Sunnat head Maulana Ahmed Ludhyanvi is contesting against Ghulam Bibi Bharwana of PTI and Qaisar Sheikh (independent) from NA-115, Jhang. PML-N leader Javed Latif is contesting against Saeed Virk of PTI in NA-121, Sheikhupura. PML-N leader Hamza Shehbaz is a candidate from NA-124, Lahore, against PTI’s Nauman Qaiser.

Abdul Aleem Khan of PTI is contesting against former NA speaker SardarAyaz Sadiq from NA 129, Lahore.

PML-N’s Tehmina Daultana is contesting against PTI’s Tahir Iqbal from NA 164, Vehari.

Tahir Bashir Cheema of PML-Q is contesting against PML-N’s Saud Majid from NA-172, Bahawalpur. PML-Q and PTI have seat adjustment on this seat. PTI has awarded both NA-176 and NA-177 seats of Rahim Yar Khan to Khurso Bakhtair.

Ghulam Mustafa Khar of PTI is contesting against Sultan Muhammad Hanjra of PML-N from NA-181, Muzaffargarh. Awami Raj Party head Jamshed Dasti is contesting from NA-182 against PTI’s Tehmina Dasti. PML-N fielded Amjad Farooq Khosa against Zulfiqar Khosa of PTI in NA-190, DG Khan. PTI’s Zartaj Gul is contesting against Awais Leghari of PML-N from DG Khan’s NA-191. PTI fielded Muhammadmian Soomro against PPP’s Mir Ijaz Jakhrani in NA-196, Jacobabab.

The other important constituencies from where known political personalities are contesting polls are: NA-4, Swat: Murad Saeed of PTI. NA-17, Haripur: Umar Ayoub Khan of PTI, Babar Nawaz of PML-N and ANP’s Irum Fatima are in the field. In NA-6, Lower Dir, Zahid Khan of ANP and Mehboob Shah of PTI will face each other. In NA-18, Sawabi, former KP Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser is in the field.

In NA-21, Mardan, fomer KP CM Amir Haidar Khan Hoti of ANP will face Muhammad Atif of PTI. PTI finaly awarded ticket from NA-22 to its outspoken leader Ali Muhammad who got fame from television shows.

 

 

 

Bigwigs gear up for hot, bitter contests

 

IFTIKHAR ALAM