Rawalpindi District comprises seven National Assembly (NA) and 14 provincial (Punjab) assembly seats including two NA seats in federal capital, Islamabad.
The major ‘biradris’ in Rawalpindi district are Rajputs (Minhas and Janjua), Awans, Kahuts, Mughals, Gujars, Jats, Syeds, Arain and Sheikhs. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has issued final list of contesting candidates for the whole country.
Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Jamat-e-Islami (JI), Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q) and Awami Muslim League (AML) are visibly active but tough fight is expected among PML-N, PTI and PPP candidates.
NA-50 RAWALPINDI-I (Murree-Kahuta)
In all 13 candidates belonging to different parties are contesting election in NA-50 Rawalpindi-I, that has been a stronghold of PML-N. This time again Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is PML-N candidate, whose father Khaqan Abbasi was a federal minister in General Ziaul Haq’s cabinet in the 1980s and went on to establish his family’s political supremacy in the area. The Abbasis continue to enjoy the support of the people and despite split in the PML-N Shahid Khaqan Abbasi remains a favourite to win. His main opponents are: PPP’s Ghulam Murtaza Satti; PTI’s Sadaqat Ali Khan and JI’s Saulat Majeed Satti. Politics in Murree-Kahuta is biradari-based. However, the PML-N over the years has emerged as the main political force of the area. Shahid Khaqan is also one of those PML-N leaders who were arrested after the military coup of 1999 because he was the chairman of PIA when the government allegedly ordered the PIA plane carrying Gen Musharraf not to land at Karachi airport. After his release, Shahid has kept a low profile but continued to be associated with the PML-N.
There are in all fifteen candidates but the real fight is between PML-N’s Raja Ashfaq Sarwar and the PTI’s Javed Iqbal Satti. JI’s Sajjad Abbasi is also a strong candidate of PP-1. The position of Raja Ashfaq Sarwar is better than that of others because Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has extended full support to his party’s candidate. But, the position of PTI’s Javed Iqbal Satti is also better due to the slogan of change by Imran Khan.
There are 11 candidates for PP-2 Rawalpindi-II, the contest is tough because PML-N’s Raja Muhammad Ali and PTI’s Tariq Mehmood Murtaza are fighting each other while PPP’s Lt Col (R) Muhammad Shabir Awan is hoping to take advantage of this fight.
NA-51 RAWALPINDI-II (Gujar Khan)
NA-51 is one of those constituencies where a cutthroat competition is expected. PML-N, PPP and PTI have fielded their candidates here. While Gujar Khan had been a PML-N stronghold, the PML vote this time will be divided because of PTI’s entry. A tough fight in expected between PML-N’s Raja Javed Ikhlas and PPP’s Raja Pervaiz Ashraf. But PTI’s candidate Faheem Bhatti is also a strong candidate. The rift between PML-N and PTI will ultimately benefit PPP’s Raja Pervaiz Ashraf who has mostly been a runner-up of the PML-N candidate in this constituency.
In this Gujar Khan constituency, the contest remains between PML-N, PTI and the PPP. PML-N’s Iftikhar Warsi, PPP’s Raja Tariq Kiani and PTI’s Ch Javed Kausar are facing each other. PPP’s Raja Tariq Kiani seems to have an edge over others because of Raja Pervaiz Ashraf because he did a lot for his constituency as Prime Minister.
In this constituency the position of PML-N’s Shaukat Bhatti and PPP’s Brig (R) Muhammad Hassan seems to be even. PTI’s Ch Muhammad Sajid is not a strong candidate. PPP’s Brig (R) Muhammad Hassan is expected to win this seat because of the support of Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.
There are 15 candidates contesting for the seat. The constituency comprises largely of rural areas and has been a stronghold of the PML-N with Ch Nisar Ali Khan being the six-time winner. But this time it is not going to be an easy win for him. The PTI has fielded Col (R) Ajmal Sabir Raja in this constituency. Former Punjab Minister Raja Basharat from PML-Q is also a strong candidate because he has a strong biradari-based support in this constituency. Ch Nisar is likely to face tough competition this time. In spite of family influence and military connections Ch Nisar could face hardships this time because the delimitation of this constituency has changed the political situation in favour of the Rajas of Dhamial. Ch Nisar, who was a trouble-shooter in the first and second Nawaz government and a powerful member of his kitchen cabinet, was arrested on October 12, 1999. After his release last year, he did not participate in any political activity against the government but like Shahid Khaqan Abbasi did not become part of any intrigues against the Sharif family.
There are 16 candidates in the field in PP-5. PML-N’s Engineer Qamar-ul-Islam Raja is a stronger candidate than all other candidates including PTI’s Haroon Kamal Hashmi because of Ch Nisar Ali Khan’s influence.
In all 21 candidates are contesting in PP-6. PML-N has fielded Ch Nisar Ali Khan from PP-6 too while PTI has fielded Danish Qayum Abbasi. PML-N Ch Nisar Ali Khan is a strong candidate from PP-6.
This constituency comprises Taxila and Wah. Main contest is expected to be between PML-N’s Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and PTI’s Ghulam Sarwar Khan. Sarwar Khan seems to have an edge because of PPP’s Intikhab Shah. The voters who are said to be mostly anti-PPP are likely to vote for PTI and not for PML-N. In the entire Rawalpindi district, if there was any strong PTI pocket, it is said to be Taxila and Wah.
PP-7 RAWALPINDI & PP-8 RAWALPINDI
Both in PP-7 and PP-8, PML-N overshadows all other political parties. The position of PPP’s Ch Kamran Ali Khan from PP-7 and PPP’s Amir Iqbal Khan from PP-8 is weak than PML-N because of Ch Nisar Ali Khan.
The constituency comprises the cantonment and suburban areas of Rawalpindi city and is one of the most important constituencies in the country since it also houses the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Pakistan Armed Forces. Since 1990, this constituency has been a PML stronghold because of General Zia ul Haq. This time, PPP’s Zamurrad Khan, PML-N’s Malik Ibrar and new face PTI’s Shahid Gilani are the main candidates for this constituency. But, tough fight is expected between PPP Zamurd Khan and PML-N Malik Ibrar. Before Ijazul Haq had appeared on the political scene after the death of his father Gen Ziaul Haq, PPP used to win this seat. Raja Shahid Zafar, who first won from this constituency as an independent candidate in 1985, again won it in 1988 on the PPP ticket. However, Ijaz defeated him in 1990 and has continued to win ever since. The population in this constituency largely comprises the settlers, most of them retired and serving army men and civil government servants. The locals in this area are also strong but they are not in a position to change the balance of overall election results as they are politically divided.
PP-9RAWALPINDI & PP-10 RAWALPINDI
With Malik Ibrar being the NA candidate in this pre-dominantly PML-N stronghold, the candidates of PML-N Chaudhry Muhammad Ayaz in PP-9 and Malik Iftikhar Ahmad in PP-10 are poised to defeat the PPP and PTI candidates in both constituencies.
This is a seat which Shakil Awan of PML-N won last time. He is again a candidate this time being the main contender. A tough fight is expected between PML-N Shakil Awan and Awami Muslim League’s Sheikh Rashid Ahmed because PTI is not contesting election from this seat due to seat adjustment with AML. PTI would support Sheikh Rashid Ahmed from NA-55 while AML would support PTI Imran Khan from NA-56, Rawalpindi.
PP-11 RAWALPINDI & PP-12 RAWALPINDI
In all 16 candidates would contest from PP-11 and 15 candidates from PP-12. A tough fight is expected from PP-11 where PML-N’s Ziaullah Shah, PPP’s Malik Khalid Nawaz Bobby and PTI’s Raja Rashid Hafiz are in the field. Similarly, a tough fight is expected from NA-12 between PML-N Sardar Naseem Khan and PTI Aijaz Khan Jazi.
This is another Rawalpindi constituency where a tough fight is expected among PTI Chief Imran Khan, PML-N’s Hanif Abbasi and PPP Israr Abbasi. AML Sheikh Rashid Ahmed will support PTI chief Imran Khan because of seat adjustment from NA-56, Rawalpindi.
PP-13, RAWALPINDI & PP-14 RAWALPINDI
In this constituency a strong fight is expected among PML-N’s Malik Ghulam Raza, PPP’s Raja Shahid Mehmood and PTI’s Muhammad Arif Abbas. Similarly, in PP-14 another tough fight is expected among PML-N Raja Abdul Hameed, PTI Ch Muhammad Asghar and PPP Raja Kamran Hussain.
A tough fight is expected among PPP’s Faisal Sakhi Butt, PML-N’s Anjum Aqeel Khan and PTI’s Javed Hashmi.
A tough competition s also expected among PTI Ch Ilyas Meharban, PPP Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and PML-N Tariq Fazal Chaudhry.