DASKA: As July 25 is fast approaching, electioneering in Daska has reached its climax. In NA-75 (previously NA-113) constituency, three major candidates are contesting.
PML-N candidate Syed Iftikharul Hassan has strong roots in the area and winning the election since 1985. He received 118,192 votes and defeated the candidate of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf with a considerable margin in 2013 general elections.
PTI awarded ticket to Ali Asjad Malhi. Malhi was the state minister in Musharraf regime and contesting after 10 years. The PPP has launched Zaheerul Hassan Rizvi which comes third in terms of the people s support.
Usman Khalid had applied for the PTI ticket but he was refused and now he is fighting as an independent candidate. His step-father Khalid Mehmood alias Makki Madni, a renowned local figure for his charitable works in the area, is running his son s election campaign. They started the campaign by inviting people from different walks of life every day in their luxurious marriage hall and entertained them with lavish food and gifts.
Ziaullah Khara and Rauf Bajwa are contesting on two MPA seats as independent candidates. Usman Khalid earned the support of chairman Daska municipality, Khawaja Atif, former PML-N MPA Ashfaq Wain, PML general secretary city Shehzad Dhillon, PML-N youth wing tehsil secretary Asghar Rafi, vice president Suleman Bhalli, tehsil youth wing president Younis Mayo, councilors Ayub Butt, Rana Mushtaq, Usman Gul Nawaz, Gullfam Sahi, Samiullah Malhi, Rauf Ahmad Bajwa and vice chairman Naseer. PML-N s Iftikharul Hassan Shah has got the support of former MPA Yahya Gul Nawaz, Amir Dhillon, Idrees Gujjar, Ghulam Bari, Rasalat Gujjar, Qazi Shabbir, Mukhtar Bal and Malik Jameel.
A strong candidate from PML-N on the provincial seat, Tauheed Butt was not granted ticket and withdrew his support to Iftikharul Hassan Shah but Shah has controlled the situation considerably by earning the support of Kashmiri clan in the city. His weak point would be the Daska city candidate for the provincial seat, Zeeshan Rafiq, who is not from the area and the entrance of former Punjab government advisor Ch Sadaqat Ali. People are also criticising allotment of ticket to his son Syed Attaul Hassan Shah the PP-41 constituency, a new name and having a bad reputation when the news went viral that he was allegedly arrested on drug charges in Dubai.
Even Asjad Malhi, on few occasions during his public meetings, claimed that Iftikharul Hassan Shah will soon be arrested by the NAB on accumulating money through illegal sources. PTI candidates Malhi and Ch Sadaqat Ali have strong support from the former MPA and former tehsil nazim, Ijaz Cheema, current and former city and rural councillors, Ch Abid, Samiullah Malhi, Imran Butt, Mian Muzaffar, Javed Cheema, Waqas Bilal, Mian Ashraf, Rana Ansar, Malik Qaiser, Sufi Sharif and Khalid Maher.
Apparently, it looks like that the previous gap of voters support would be filled due to Imran Khan s increasing popularity and his recent visit to Daska also inspires the public which showed in large numbers in his public gathering. Despite the entire scenario, the on-ground situation gives a little edge to Iftkhar Shah over his opponents and PTI may cause upset by taking advantage of having a local candidate Ch Sadaqat Ali for the PP-42 provincial seat. The position of Bao Rizwan, combined candidate of PTI and PML-Q, is considered better than Iftikhar Shah in PP-41. Furthermore, independent candidate from NA-75, Usman Khalid may bag a considerable number of votes which will decide the future of the constituency.