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Sunday July 14, 2024

NA-146 Khanewal-III: Tough one-on-one contest between Bodlas, Qureshis

By Nadeem Shah
January 24, 2024

MULTAN: Political alignments of big and small Biradris, Pirs and political groups have hinted at a tough one-on-one contest between the families of the Bodlas and the Qureshi Pirs in NA-146 Khanewal-III.

Political flags can be seen in this image. — AFP/File
Political flags can be seen in this image. — AFP/File

The families were once in alliance against former Punjab chief minister Ghulam Haider Wyne but lined up against each other after his death. A further division occurred among the PPP’s Qureshi Pirs led by Pir Shujat Hassnain Qureshi (late) in 2011 when he joined the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. Pir Shujat Hassnain Qureshi was the brother-in-law of Shah Mehmood Qureshi. Shah Mehmood Qureshi was foreign minister in the PPP rule from March 31, 2008 to February 2011. Later, he quitted the PPP over differences with PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari over handing over of US spy Raymond Davis to the United States. He resigned from the foreign ministry in February 2011. Pir Shujat Hassnain Qureshi of Mian Channu also quitted the PPP along with Shah Mehmood Qureshi and joined the PTI.

In the 2018 elections, NA-146 Khanewal-III was a triangular among the Bodlas, the PTI’s Qureshis and the PPP’s Qureshis, but the 2024 election was a one-on-one fight between the Bodlas and the Qureshis. The Qureshi group led by the PPP’s Barrister Haider Zaman Qureshi is not contesting the election. Pir Haider Zaman Qureshi is the PPP central finance secretary and one of the strongest candidates in the constituency. However, the PPP dynastical politics sacrificed him. Haider Zaman lost his election in 2008 by only 900 votes against Aslam Bodla. Political workers say another heavyweight Malik Sikandar Hayat Bosan is also contesting a provincial assembly seat as an independent candidate. In fact, Bosan is contesting NA-148 Multan-I against former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani. Sikandar Bosan was promised a PPP ticket for NA-146 Khanewal-III and filed his nomination papers for NA-146 Khanewal-III and PP-208 Khanewal-IV. The PPP’s Haider Zaman Qureshi paid the cost of that understanding and the PPP did not issue him party ticket. Later, the PMLN awarded party ticket to Sikandar Bosan’s brother Shokat Hayat from PP-213 Multan against Ali Haider Gillani of the PPP. Now Sikandar Bosan is running as an independent candidate from PP-213 Khanewal-IV. The Bosan group has unanimously announced support for the PMLN candidate in NA-148 Multan-I. Shokat Hayat Bosan is contesting PP-213 on PMLN ticket, which is part of NA-148 Multan-I. The situation is not pleasant for Yousuf Raza Gillani.

Election Commission of Pakistan electoral rolls have confirmed the registered voters in NA-146 Khanewal-III are 454,463 including 278,841 male and 175,622 female. ECP statistics say that in the 2018 elections, the total number of registered voters stood in the constituency at 401,277 including 225,655 male and 175,622 female. NA-146 Khanewal-III comprises the whole Mian Channu Tehsil which has 34 rural residential areas and include Chak No 96/15.L and 105/15.L (Vanjari). The rest of constituency areas include Chak No 16/8-BR, Chak No 14/8ar, Chak No 13/8ar, Chak No 12/8ar, Chak No 11/8ar, Chak No 10/8ar, Chak No 09/8ar, Chak No 100/15L Arain Wala, Chak No 105/15L Vanjari, Chak No 108/15L, Chak No 115/15L, Chak No 123/7-ER Chishtian Wala, Chak No 124/15L, Chak No 126/15L, Chak No 129/15L, Chak No 131/15L Lakanwala, Chak No 134/16L, Chak No 137/16L, Chak No 14/8-AR, Chak No 42/15L UC-66 (newly-added UC), Chak No 44/15L, Chak No 45/15L, Chak No 57/15L, Chak No 61-A/15L, Chak No 7/8ar, Chak No 42/15L UC-66 (newly-added UC), Chak No 44/15L, Chak No 45/15L, Chak No 57/15L, Chak No 61-A/15L, Chak No 7/8ar, Chak No. 72-73/15L, Chak No 74/15L, Chak No 78/15L, Chak No 84/15L, Chak No 92/15L, Chak No 93/15L, Chak No 64/15L Chandi Wali.

As many as 20 candidates are contesting NA-146 Khanewal-III. They include Pir Muhammad Aslam Bodla of the PMLN, Pir Zahoor Hussein Qureshi of the PTI, Shahid Bashir of the PPP, Hafiz Muhammad Imran Siddique of the TLP, Abdul Aziz of the JUIF and Ghulam Haider of the JI. Eight independents are also contesting the constituency. The ECP delimitation named the constituency as NA-152 Khanewal-III in the 2018 elections. The PTI-nominated candidate Pir Zahoor Hussain Qureshi defeated the PMLN’s Pir Muhammad Aslam Bodla Siddiqui by 10,120 votes. Pir Zahoor Hussain Qureshi won with 109,257 votes. Zahoor Qureshi is the son of Pir Shujat Hassnain Qureshi (late) and nephew of Shah Mehmood Qureshi. Pir Muhammad Aslam Bodla Siddiqui on the PMLN ticket had received 99,137 votes. Haider Zaman Qureshi of the PPP had received 12,027 votes. Muhammad Shafiqur Rehman of the TLP had received 8,412 votes, Muhammad Ashraf, independent, had received 1,855 votes and Ghulam Haider 1,358 votes.

The constituency had been listed as NA-158 Khanewal-III in the 2013 elections. Pir Aslam Bodla of the PMLN defeated PTI candidate Pir Zahoor Hussain Qureshi of the PTI by 21,757 votes. Pir Aslam Bodla received 93,564 votes against Pir Zahoor Hussain Qureshi who got 71,807 votes. PPP candidate Pir Haidar Zaman Qureshi received 28,138 votes. PMLN candidate Ejaz Ahmad Cheena received 624 votes, Abdul Sattar Chaudhry of the MQM 441, Qari Muhammad Safdar Javid of the JUI-F 420, Chaudhry Tanveer Ahmad of the APM 240, Doctor Nasir Razzaq of TLP 232 and Muhammad Yusuf Sheikh 110. Independent candidates Ch Abdul Ghafoor received 62 votes, Muhammad Ashraf 2,129, Mazhar Iqbal Bhatti 922, Muhammad Mansha 797, Farhatullah Khan 685, Mian Muhammad Iqbal Sohara 157, Muhammad Yusuf Sheikh 110 and Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor 62.

The constituency was named NA-158 Khanewal-III in the 2018 polls. Pir Muhammad Aslam Bodla contested the poll on PMLN ticket and defeated the PPP’s Pir Haider Zaman Qureshi by only 956 votes. Aslam Bodla received 57,777 votes and defeated Pir Haider Zaman Qureshi who got 56821 votes. The PMLN’s Farhatullah Khan received 39,375 votes. Muhammad Nawaz Asim of the MQM bagged 1,512 votes. Big clans matter in the constituency instead of party vote. Political parties depend on heavyweights belonging to highly-influenced clans. The TLP has also a sound vote bank and is expected to damage the vote bank of right-wing political parties.