–NA-134 only constituency with four provincial assembly seats
LAHORE: The overall changing political scenario of the country has shown its impact on national assembly’s NA-134 constituency, where candidates of the arch-rivals – Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) – are expected to be in a neck and neck competition in the forthcoming polls, Pakistan Today has observed.
Eleven candidates will be running for the said constituency, including Zaheer Abbas Khokhar (PTI), Rana Mubashar (PML-N), Malik Sohail Afzal Awan (Pakistan People’s Party), Muhammad Irfan Sheikh (Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan) and Aneela Batool (Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal) while Aneel Ashiq Matu, Zulfiqar Ali Hassan, Rana Khalid Mahmood, Zaeem Qadri, Faqeer Hussain Bukhari and Shazia Mubashar will be contesting as independent candidates.
However, the real competition is expected between PML-N’s Rana Mubashar Iqbal and PTI’s Malik Zaheer Abbas Khokhar.
After the new delimitation, the constituency has over 80 per cent of the same electoral areas which were part of NA-129 during the general elections of 2013. The areas include Wapda Town, Nashaiman Iqbal Scheme, Punjab Government Housing Scheme-2, Valencia Town, Satoo Katla Khas, NFC Housing Society, Punjab Government Housing Scheme, Nespak Society, Staff Colony, PCSIR, Haloki, Haloki (Rasool Pura), Leel, Dev Khurd and Kalan, Balher, Kamahan, Kamahan ( Natha Chowk/Shan Wali Haveli), Attari Saroba, Attari Saroba (Nishter Colony/Ahsan Block), Dalu Kalan And Khurd, Dalu Kalan and Khurd (Youhana Abad), Theh Panjo, Bhatto Colony, Theh Waraich, Kacha, Jheedo, Kamahan, Chungi Amar Sidhu (Sittara Colony), Tahayat, Bagrian (Dharam Chand) and others.
The constituency is considered as one of the strongholds of PML-N for the past several years and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif contested from this constituency in the last general elections. He defeated PTI’s candidate Chaudhary Mansha Sindhu with a huge margin while receiving 94,007 votes against Sindhu’s 35,781.
Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) candidate Tariq Shabir, while only managing to mark his presence, bagged 11,633 votes. By-elections were held on the same seat after Shehbaz abandoned the seat in favour of his provincial assembly’s seat; PP-159 where PML-N’s candidate and wife of Rana Mubashar Iqbal, Shazia Mubashar defeated PTI’s Mansha Sindhu. Shazia grabbed 44,894 votes while Sindhu managed to secure 26,071 votes.
PML-N’s candidate for the forthcoming polls, Rana Mubashar, hails from Haloki, and was elected as a member of the provincial assembly in 2008, but he had to step down after he was convicted in a fake degree case. Now that the five-year ban has been lifted from Mubashar, it appears that he has a good vote bank in Haloki, Kamahan, Theh Panjo and other adjoining areas of Ferozepur Road that include posh, semi-urban and rural areas.
Gujjar, Meo, Rajputs, Jutts, Araen are the major clans residing in the constituency whose vote bank is split among different candidates. However, it has been learnt that PML-N’s former leader Chaudhry Ghafoor Meo is convincing the Meo clan to vote for the PTI-fielded candidate.
PTI’s Zaheer Abbas Khokhar is also a seasoned politician and was elected as a national assembly member in 2002 on PPP’s ticket. Later, in 2010, he joined PTI and contested on provincial assembly’s seat PP-161 where he bagged 59,486 votes against PML-N’s Saiful Malook Khokhar who received 60,311. The constituency is a new one for Zaheer, but he is hopeful that he would attract a maximum number of voters living in posh societies.
The new constituency is perhaps the only constituency in Pakistan that has been formed in a manner that electoral areas of four constituencies of provincial assembly fall under it. PP-169 and PP-170 fall completely under the said NA constituency while Halloki and Rasool Pura are a part of PP-165 and Kamahan, Atari Soba, Baba Farid Colony, Kamaha Road, Meo Colony and some others are parts of PP-168.
In PP-169, candidates including Akhtar Hussain (PML-N), Naqash Sleem Sandhu (PTI), Nasir Mahmood (PPP), Shaukat Ali (TLP) and Salamat Ali Chisti (TLI) are contesting the polls from different political parties while Amjad Ali, Jaafer Ali, Rana Iqbal Hussain, Rana Tauqeer Arif, Zaid Ahmad, Sardar M Amir, Amir Riaz Qureshi, Muhammad Ramzan, Noba Arif, Yasir Tufail and Yousaf Shaukat are running as independents.
PML-N’s Akhtar Hussain is comparatively a weaker candidate than PTI’s Naqash Saleem Sindhu as the latter is the nephew of another strong candidate of the PTI, Mansha Sindhu, who is contesting against Shehbaz Sharif in NA-132.
In PP-170 at least 14 candidates; Imran Javed (PML-N), Muhammad Amin Zulqernain (PTI), Muhammad Arif (PPP), Sheikh Muhammad Imran Ashfaq (TLP), Chaudhry Mahmoodul Ahad, Khalid Naik, Khalid Mahmood Chaudhry, Khawaja Ahmad Hassan, Khawaja Asim Wazir, Saifur Rehman, Muhammad Rafique, Muhammad Umar Hayat, Malik Muhammad Habib Awan, Mian Muhammad Saleem area in the race.