- Tough contest expected for NA 50 between Abbasis and Sattis
Candidates of all major political parties are in the run to win NA 50 seat but the real contest is expected between PML-N nominee Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and PPP candidate Murtaza Satti, while PTI contester Professor Sadaqat Abbasi may make his presence felt, observers claim.
NA 50 is a constituency of district Rawalpindi that covers Tehsil Murree, Kotli Sattian and Tehsil Kahuta.
This is the largest constituency of the district and has been the traditional stronghold of PML-N. Family based politics is key phenomenon of this constituency. Three major biradries residing in this region include Abbasis, Rajas and Sattis.
Abbasi clan has considerable vote bank in NA 50. However, this time votes of this clan will be divided between Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and PTI Professor Sadaqat Abbasi, due to which the PPP candidate could get an edge. Whereas, former PML-N senator Sadia Abbasi, who is the real sister of Shahid Khaqan, has joined PTI and she can play an effective role in dividing the family vote.
PML-N opponents are trying their best to ‘cash’ the decision by Shahbaz Sharif’s government to stop projects initiated during PML-Q regime. PML-N candidates may also face tough questions from voters over gas supply to Hamza Shahbaz Sharif’s residence at Khaira Gali at the cost of ensuring the supply to the rural areas of Murree. PPP voters on the other hand would suffer due to people’s disappointment with PPP’s five year rule in the center.
NA 50 has also boasts of a sizeable religious vote-bank. In the 2002 elections, Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) candidate Sufyan Abbasi won over 29,000 votes. Jamiat-Ulema-Islam (JUI) and JUI (Fazl-ur-Rehman group) have nominated their candidates for NA and provincial assembly seats, which will divide the rightwing voters.
PP-1: This constituency has two seats of Provincial Assembly- PP-1 and PP-2. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has also emerged as a new force in the region with support amongst youth in particular. Political pundits, while keeping current political scenario in view, believe that PTI is not in a position to win an NA seat but it has considerable vote bank to clinch provincial assembly seat of PP-1.
Although PTI is yet to announce its candidate for PP-1, two noted personalities of Kotli Sattian including Javed Iqbal Satti and Major (Retired) Gultasab Satti are trying their best to represent PTI in PP1. PML-N is most likely to award its ticket in this constituency to former adviser to chief minister Punjab, Raja Ishfaq Sarwar, or his cousin the outgoing MPA Raja Fayaz Sarwar.
The former tehsil nazim, Sardar Saleem is a joint candidate of PML-Q and PPP. Observers claim that this candidate will give a tough time to PML-N and PTI. On the other hand, Chairman Press Council of Pakistan and former PPP MPA Shafqat Abbasi is opposing the party decision to support Sardar Saleem. He is trying to secure a ticket for his brother instead.
PP-2: This electoral area consists of Tehsil Kohota and three union councils of Tehsil Kalar Saydan. PML-N’s senior leader Raja Zafar-ul-Haq’s son Muhammad Ali has been awarded the PML-N ticket for this constituency. Meanwhile the outgoing MPA of PPP Col (Retired) Shabir Awan is the PPP candidate and Sharyar Tariq will contest elections from PTI platform. With a considerable vote-bank, PPP’s candidate is considered the favorite in this area.