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Saturday July 20, 2024

Shifting alliances, unexpected twists in NA-148 Multan-I

PPP, PMLN, and PTI each have a substantial vote bank, augmented by personal votes from their respective social groups within constituency

By Nadeem Shah
January 25, 2024
A vendor displaying political parties flags attraction for customers in his shop in the Provincial Capital, ahead of the countrys general elections 2024 on January 23, 2024. — Online
A vendor displaying political parties flags attraction for customers in his shop in the Provincial Capital, ahead of the country's general elections 2024 on January 23, 2024. — Online

MULTAN: The National Assembly constituency, NA-148 Multan-I, has historically been a stronghold of prominent landholders, predominantly in agricultural areas. However, recent realignments among influential groups are expected to yield surprising results.

The constituency spans along the banks of the Chenab, and certain riverine areas, known for criminal activities, may have police involvement influencing political alignments. The current alliances reveal a complex history, with today’s adversaries being former allies and friends. The Bosàns and Dehrs, once political allies of the Gillani Pirs, have now found themselves on opposite sides due to changing political interests and a struggle for dynastic prominence.

The PPP, PMLN, and PTI each have a substantial vote bank, augmented by personal votes from their respective social groups within the constituency. Malik Sikandar Hayat Bosan, having failed to secure a ticket from the PMLN, filed his nomination papers as an independent. In the 2018 elections, he had garnered over 37,000 votes as an independent after being denied tickets from both the PTI and the PMLN.

The PMLN had refused him a ticket in commitment to ex-PTI MNA Ahmed Hassan Dehr, who later left the PTI in a vote of no confidence against Imran Khan. Sikandar Bosan also fielded his younger brother, Sokat Bosan, as an independent from PP-213.Despite the PPP offering him a ticket from NA-146 Khanewal-III, Bosan did not receive a PPP ticket.

The situation escalated when the PMLN awarded a ticket to Bosan’s brother, Shokat Hayat Bosan, from PP-213 Multan-I, prompting a significant shift in alliances. The powerful Bosan group joined the PMLN ranks in NA-148 Multan-I in support of PMLN candidates Ahmed Hassan Dehr and Shokat Bosan.

Meanwhile, Syed Ali Haider Gillani, son of Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani, is also contesting from PP-213 Multan-I, further complicating the electoral landscape.The unfolding developments suggest a substantial change in the electoral dynamics of the constituency, potentially leading to unexpected and surprising outcomes.

The total number of registered voters in NA-148 Multan-I for 2024, according to the Election Commission of Pakistan, stands at 213,333, with 111,639 male voters and 101,694 female voters.The constituency, previously labelled as NA-154 Multan-I in the 2018 election delimitations, has been re-designated as NA-148 Multan-I. A comparison of the electoral rolls reveals a reduction of 171,900 votes in 2024 compared to 2018. The demarcation indicates that the constituency primarily comprises rural areas, including parts of urban areas such as Multan Cantonment, Multan Cantonment Qanungo Halqa of Multan City Tehsil, Town Committee Qadir Pur Ran, areas of Multan Saddar Tehsil, Bosan Qanungo Halqa, Nawab Pur Qanungo Halqa, Sher Shah Qanungo Halqa, and more.Thirteen candidates, including seven from political parties and six independents, are contesting in the constituency for the 2024 election. Key contenders include Ahmed Hassan Dehr of the PMLN, Syed Yusuf Raza Gillani of the PPP, Barrister Taimur Mahay of the PTI, Anela Iftikahar of the APML, Sajjad Ahmed of the JUP, Muhammad Atif Imran of the JI, and Malik Azhar Ahmed Sandela of the TLP. Independents in the race are Asif Nazar Dehr, Tamaur Altaf Malik, Rana Jang Sher Ali, Syed Azhar Abbas, Qaiser Ali Haider Mahay, and Muhammad Fahad Salim.A review of the 2018 election results indicates that Ahmad Hussain Dehar of the PTI secured victory with 74,283 votes, defeating the PPP’s Syed Abdul Qadir Gillani by 10,021 votes. Syed Abdul Qadir Gillani received 64,262 votes, while Sikandar Hayyat Khan had contested as an independent and garnered 37,156 votes.

The constituency’s electoral history, spanning from 2013 to 2024, highlights the evolving political landscape and the intricate interplay of alliances and rivalries. The upcoming election is poised to unfold with heightened anticipation and unpredictability.