- PTI may win five NA, 10 Punjab Assembly seats from district
MULTAN: If Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has pulled over any district at 180 degrees, it is Multan where the party candidates are set to sweep the entire district which has six National Assembly and thirteen Punjab Assembly constituencies.
The only challenge PTI faces in the district, comes from former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani who is going neck and neck on the ticket of Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) with PTI’s Ibrahim Khan in NA-158, while his sons Abdul Qadir Gilani and Ali Musa Gilani are also giving tough time to PTI’s candidates Ahmed Hussain Dehrr and Zain Hussain Qureshi in NA-154 and NA-157 respectively.
In NA-154, former federal minister Sikandar Bosan is also putting a brave fight despite being severely ill. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidates, who are doing well, are former federal ministers Javed Ali Shah in NA-158 and Deewan Zulqarnain Bokhari in NA-159.
While electioneering process is in full swing in the district with PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi making waves in Multan, PTI Chairman Imran Khan is going to warm up party loyalists on July 20, closely followed by PML-N President Mian Shehbaz Sharif who will try to pull a big crowd on July 21.
However, with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif already jailed in a graft case, it seems the chips are down for the former ruling party which had won four out of six National Assembly seats back in 2013.
Bilal Butt, PML-N’s district president says his party had no chance of winning any seat at least on five NA seats.
“We have only one chance at NA-159 Jalalpur where Deewan Zulqarnain is doing fine. But we will have to see how much PTI gains by Election Day,” says Bilal Butt while talking exclusively with Pakistan Today.
Asked what had led to the party’s debacle keeping in view that Multan had become a fort in year 2013, Bilal says parties are destroyed when crooks overtake party affairs and allegations of corruption are rife.
“Let me tell you that Abdul Ghaffar Dogar has sold at least three party tickets, obtaining millions of rupees. Moreover, party’s new leader Shehbaz Sharif doesn’t listen to the party workers and all decisions are taken in isolation. This is why we are facing such a catastrophe,” he said, adding that Governor Punjab Rafique Rajwana had also got his son to contest on PML-N ticket, which he claimed was a paratrooper, and this move had hurt the party too.
The most interesting contest in Multan is in NA-154 Multan-I where a three-way fight between Sikandar Bosan – independent, Malik Ahmed Hussain Deharr of PTI and Abdul Qadir Gilani of PPP is attracting the observers.
The PML-N has awarded ticket to Sulaiman Ali Qureshi who was PTI candidate in 2013 and despite being a novice in politics, he had obtained 40,000 votes.
The race for PP-211 Multan-I is mainly between Khalid Javed Warraich of PTI and Amir Bappi of PML-N with PTI nominee leading. For PP-212 Multan-II, Malik Saleem Labir of PTI and former MPA Shehzad Maqbool Bhutta of PML-N are in a strong competition.
In PP-213 Multan-III, former MPA Malik Mohammad Ali Khokhar of PML-N is up against Nawabzada Waseem Badozai of PTI where a close contest is expected.
For NA-155 Multan-II (Interior Multan), former MNA Malik Amir Dogar of PTI is leading the race while PML-N’s Sheikh Tariq Rasheed is trailing. Yousaf Raza Gilani is supporting PTI’s Multan City President Khalid Khakwani who is contesting as an independent. Dogar, however, is in a comfortable lead.
Asif Rafiq Rajwana, the son of Punjab Governor, is contesting on PML-N ticket in PP-214 Multan-IV, where PTI’s former MPA Zaheeruddin Alizai is in a comfortable position.
For PP-216 Multan-VI, former Punjab minister Ihsanuddin Qureshi is leading against PTI’s Nadeem Qureshi, who is set to put up a brave fight in the heart of PML-N supporters.
PTI is set to grab NA-156 Multan-III with a huge margin as party’s leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi is up against a comparatively weak PML-N opponent Amir Saeed Ansari.
For PP-215 Multan-V, Javed Akhtar of PTI is leading against Amir Ansari of PML-N who is a weaker candidate.
In PP-217 Multan-VII, Shah Mahmood Qureshi is facing a tough challenge from a PTI rebel Salman Naeem and PML-N’s Begum Tasnim Kausar, who is the wife of PML-N’s disqualified former minister Ch Abdul Waheed.
Salman Naeem is a filthy rich businessman who has been denied party ticket and is spending millions to defeat Shah Mahmood Qureshi, making the contest interesting.
In NA-157 Multan-IV, a tough three-way contest is expected between former MNA Malik Ghaffar Dogar, PTI’s Zain Qureshi and Ali Musa Gilani of PPP. Zain, however, has an upper hand against Dogar and Gilani junior.
In PP-218 Multan-VIII, former MPA Mazhar Abbas Raan of PTI is up against Malik Zafar Raan of PML-N who is a weaker candidate. For PP-219 Multan-IX, the PML-N has awarded ticket to a political novice Rana Iqbal Siraj, refusing ticket Rai Mansab Dogar who is contesting on PPP ticket. This has paved the way for PTI’s Akhtar Malik who enjoys an easy ride.
For NA-158 Multan-V, an interesting three-way fight is on between PPP leader Yousaf Raza Gilani, PTI’s Ibrahim Khan and PML-N’s Javed Ali Shah. Gilani and Ibrahim are locked in a neck and neck contest, closely followed by Javed Shah. Anyone of the three can clinch this constituency.
Another close fight is expected between PTI’s Mian Tariq Abdullah, PPP’s Kamran Marral and PML-N‘s Tahir Shabbir for PP-220 Multan-X. Rana Sohail Noon and Rana Ijaz Noon are locked in a close fight for PP-221 Multan-XI while PPP’s ticket holder Khurram Farid Khakwani is trailing far behind.
In NA-159 Multan-VI, former MNA Rana Qasim Noon is contesting on PTI ticket and is leading the race, closely followed by PML-N’s Deewan Zulqarnain Bokhari who is capable of pulling a surprise anytime. Deewan Zulqarnain is the younger son of former MNA Deewan Ashiq Hussain Bokhari who has been disqualified.
The race for PP-222 Multan-XII is also led by PTI’s Malik Ghulam Abbas Khakhi who will be winning for the first time in his 20-year political struggle. Though Haji Akram Kanhaira, a local industrialist is spending lavishly to narrow down the margin, it is highly unlikely that he would make it through to Punjab Assembly. PML-N’s former MPA Mehdi Abbas Langah is trailing far behind.
For PP-223 Multan-XIII, PTI’s Malik Akram Kanhoon is set to defeat PML-N’s former minister and three-time MPA Naghma Mushtaq Langah who the voters claim has miserably failed to redress their grievances.