BAHAWALPUR: Owing the family politics, the major political parties could not decide to award tickets to the aspiring candidates in Bahawalpur from where a strong voice for the separate province of South Punjab had echoed in the recent past.
As many as 219 politicians from five constituencies of National Assemblies (NA) and 58 constituencies of provincial assembly are vying, from who 58 will contest on NA seats while 161 politicians will contest on PP seats.
The stalwarts of Pakistan Muslim League-N and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf have strong reservation over award of tickets. The candidates who have been awarded tickets are facing severe opposition by the stalwarts of their parties.
Even the workers and stalwarts of Pakistan People’s Party seemed frustrated and disappointed. The PPP’s decline started after the assassination of Benzair Bhutoo. No attention is being given to the workers by Zaradari and other leaders of the PPP. Some of the stalwarts of PPP took shelter under the umbrella of PTI and other parties.
History: PPP is history now in Bahawalpur (BWP), whereas, it had a huge vote bank there in the past. In 1988 and 1990, PPP won the seats of NA and PP from BWP district with a great margin. The miserable situation of the PPP could be gauged by the fact that it could not even find a suitable candidate from BWP to contest the upcoming general elections.
The NA 185 constituency has been changed to NA-170. In 2008 and 2013, the PML-N won the election from there so it is considered stronghold of the PML-N now. However, PTI can give tough time to PML-N as the PPP’s votes have moved to the PTI. In 2013, Mian Baleegh ur Rehman of PML-N had won the election and got 88,219 votes while his opponent Malik Farooq Azam of Awami National Party, also supported by PTI, got 65,795 votes. If Malik Farooq Azam is awarded ticket by PTI, he would give tough time to the PML-N. Waseem Akhtar of Jamaat e Islami (JI) could contest on the ticket of Muttahida Majlis e Ammal (MMA). If he contests for NA-170 on the tickets of MMA, the PML-N’s chances of victory would be reduced. It is pertinent to mention here that Waseem AKhtar won MPA seat twice from there.
The PP-271 constituency has been changed to PP-245. Malik Iqbal Chanar of PML-N won election from there and got 40,468 votes while Ashar Joya of PTI got 25,238 votes. Now, Malik Zaheer Iqbal Chanar, son of Malik Iqbal Chanar, will contest the election. The clans of Joya and Chanar play a vital role in every election. Malik Iqbal is seen as a strong candidate as he had won the seat thrice from this constituency. Asghar Joya, president of the district, has worked hard launched his campaign on a massive level, is also being considered favorite.
The PP-272 has been changed to PP-246. Dr Waseem Akhtar of JI won the election with support of PML-N and got 30,070 votes from there. Farzand Goheer of PTI got 21,178 votes. Now the ticket of PTI has been awarded to Tehseen Nawaz Gardeezi ,who is party president of the city while Nabeel ur Rehman of PTI has submitted nomination papers as an independent candidate against Gardeezi. Gardeezi is considered a weak candidate from there. It is expected that PML-N would award ticket to Dr Rana Muhammad Tariq who is fully supported by Baleegh ur Rehman. Rana Tariq has green signal from his party leadership despite that Mahmood Majeed has been fielded by former Senator Saud Majeed. It is pertinent to mention here that Saud Majeed is contesting from Yazman for NA seat while his nephew is contesting from there too.
NA-186 has been changed to NA-171. Mian Riaz ul Hassan of PML-N, Naeem ud Din of PTI and Tariq Basheer Cheema of PML-Q contested election in 2013 from there. Mian Riaz ul Hassan won the election and got 74,275 votes. Tariq Basheer Cheema got 61,288 and Naeem ud Din of PTI got 52,811 votes. In the upcoming election, the same three candidates from the same parries have been fielded. The position of Riaz ul Hassan is strong.
NA 187 has been changed to NA-172. Saud Majeed of PML-N is contesting from there. Tariq Bashir Cheema and Moonis Elahi of PML-Q have been fielded by the party. It is expected that Tariq Bashir Cheema will support Moonis Elahi there. In 2008, Saud Majeed won the election by defeating Chaudhary Pervaiz Elahi from here while in 2013 Tariq Bashir Cheema won the election and got 92,967 votes. Saud got 88,966 votes. Now the election is being considered neck and neck. Arain and Jutt clans play an important role in every election because of majority vote.
NA-184 has been changed to NA-173. Khadeja Warun of PTI and Mian Najeeb ul Din Awaisi of PML-N are contesting election from there. In 2013, Mian Najeeb ul Din Awaisi won the election and got 94,404 votes. Awaisi and Warun are major clans of the constituency who play an important role in elections.
NA-183 has been changed to NA-174. Nawab Salahul Din Abbasi is considered king a maker in the constituency, so every party tries to seek his support. In the election in 2013, PPP and PML-N had contacted him repeatedly. PML-N had offered him that the party would award tickets to the candidates whom Nawab would recommend from both constituencies. Nawab supported PPP’s candidate. Despite the support of Nawab, PPP’s candidate lost the seat. Following the victory of PML-N on majority of seats from BWP, he had become inactive.
Anarchy gives birth to movements which reshape the leaders. A leader keeps finger on the pulse of people who cry for change. It does not matter whether a leader compromises or stands with the masses according to demands of people. The Movement of Janoobi Punjab Soba Mahaz (JPSM) compelled Nawab to come out from slumber. The leaders, including Makhdoom Khusroo Bakhtiar, Tahir Bashir Cheema, Sami Ullah Chaudhary, had shaken Nawab. In response, he started movement of restoration of Bahawalpur province. He held a press conference with Muhammad Ali Durani and Tariq Bashir Cheema for the Bahawalpur province. He had given a dead line to the government to restore BWP province. Nawab took u-turn and had a meeting with Imran Khan. Nawab announced support for Imran Khan. It was said that Shahzad Bahwal Abbas Abbasi, son of Nawab, would be awarded ticket from NA-174 as it was decided in the meeting held between Nawab and Imran. The decision was changed and the ticket was not awarded to his son. Nawab lost political support of his voters and supporters. It is also said that Nawab is in constant contact with the PTI leadership. If Shahzad Bahwal Abbas is not awarded a ticket, he will contest election as an independent candidate, it is said.