–Imran Khan-led party’s Shaukat Bhatti bags 165,618 votes against PML-N candidate Saira Tarar’s 157,453
–TLP candidate and former federal minister Liaquat Abbas Bhatti receives 44,130 votes
LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has bagged a national seat and two provincial seats in NA-87, Punjab’s largest constituency, where its candidate for National Assembly (NA) Shaukat Bhatti has bagged an astounding 165,618 votes followed closely by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) former federal minister Saira Afzal Tarar who has managed received 157,453 votes, taking the telly of two largest parties all the way up to 300,000.
Hafizabad, a city with a population of 1.157 million, spanning over an area of 2,367 square kilometers and bundled under NA-87 for NA and PP-69, PP-70 and PP-71 for Punjab Assembly, has a total of 684,447 voters. Out of the total number, 240,195 male and 164,528 females cast their votes taking the telly to 404,723 whereas the voter turnout came at 59.13 per cent.
What seems to be a muddled at best and chaotic at worst competition has drawn to a close. Since, the mighty Bhattis of Burj Dara were at daggers drawn. Liaquat Abbas Bhatti, former MNA pitched himself against his nephew Shaukat Ali Bhatti, former MPA and candidate of PTI. Although Liaquat managed to bag 44,130 votes, it proved to be of minor significance.
Saira Afzal Tarar, former health minister, on the other hand, managing to bag a PML-N ticket for the third time failed by a slight margin of eight thousand votes.
From PP-69, Mian Shahid Bhatti, former MNA from NA-103 came second to Mamoon Tarar of PTI who bagged 58,337.
In PP-70, an old loyalist of Bhattis, Dr Muzaffar Sheikh, who had parted ways with old masters and joined PML-N weeks before the election, won by bagging 49,093 votes marginally ahead Malik Fiyaz Ahmed Awan who bagged 46,051.
In PP-71, PTI’s Ahsan Jehangir bagged 47,840 followed by Shoaib Shah Nawaz of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), who bagged 31,037 votes while Shoaib Shafiq of PML-N came third with 28,706.
The decision of PTI in NA-87 to go with Shaukat Ali Bhatti, scion of politically influential Bhatti family and son of former MNA Mehdi Bhatti, has paid off. The rifts at the very core of Bhatti family didn’t prove much of a hindrance.
In PP-69 Mamoon Jafar Tarar has been nominated. Former PML-N loyalist who jumped ship and joined PTI Malik Fayyaz Awan got a ticket from PP-70 and Ahsan Anser Bhatti from PP-71.
Among the independents contesting from NA-87, former MNA Liaquat Abbas Bhatti, after being denied ticket by PTI, decided to go the whole hog and submitted his nomination papers as an independent candidate. From PP-69, former MPA from PML-N Asadullah Arain contested as an independent candidate. From PP-70, Pir Waseemul Hasan Shah and from PP-71, Pir Shoaib Shah, are the prominent candidates who contested for national and provincial seats.
It is pertinent to mention here that in the aftermath of recent delimitation, district Hafizabad has lost one of its previous two national assembly seats. Hafizabad, for past more than two decades, had NA-102, comprising of Hafizabad city and adjoining villages and NA-103, comprising mainly of Pindi Bhattian tehsil.