Sunday, September 24, 2023

Examining Punjab’s by-elections

On July 17, there will be contests for twenty available seats. The outcome will influence the future of politics in Lahore and Islamabad, as well as the impact of inflation on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in Punjab.

There’s one thing worse than political divide, economic hardship, and Imran Khan’s comments. The political groups, especially the PML(N), have been obliged to accept this unnatural unity. In most constituencies, PML(N)’s is its traditional competitor; this is why it’s also suffering from inflation.

PML(N) is in power while Imran Khan is belligerent. Locals and journalists claim load-shedding is decreasing in by-election areas, utility store trucks are present, and construction is underway. PTI probably blames unknown people for anything else that’s happening.

PTI is riding a wave, yet it has chosen electables with some ideological members. Concerns continue over whether the PTI can attract voters to the polls, especially as the opposing side prepares to make it tough.

PP 158 is the most fascinating seat. It was Aleem Khan’s home. Aleem Khan wanted Shoaib Siddiqui to run for this seat, but the PML(N) picked Rana Ahsan Sharafat. Aleem Khan hasn’t campaigned for the PML-N candidate, and speculations say he’s upset with the pick.

Akram Usman, Mian Mehmood-ul-son-in-law, Rashid’s is running for this seat. Habib Akram and Ajmal Jami visited this constituency and said inflation had boosted PTI’s popularity. This is why Ayaz Sadiq’s resignation is seen as PML(N) fear. PML-N wants senior leaders to campaign in the region.

Nazir Chauhan and Amin Zulqarnain (Aun Chaudhary’s brother) are PML-N candidates in PP 167 and PP 170. Both are in peril because of PTI’s popularity and PML-N displeasure. Nazir Chauhan reportedly complained publicly about lack of ruling party support. Zaheer Abbas Khokhar, a former MPA from a politically important family, will challenge Amin Zulqarnain.

Raja Sagheer Ahmed faces Colonel (Rtd) Shabbir Awan in Rawalpindi’s PP 70. Raja Saghir, who gained 44,000 votes as an independent in 2018, defected to the PTI. He’s running on PML(N) ticket. Shabbir Awan joined the PTI from the PPP in 2013.

Raja Zafarul Haq of PML(N) reportedly doesn’t back his party’s candidate because his son ran in 2018.

Former PTI member Mian Khalid Mehmood is currently a PML(N) candidate in Sheikhupura. Formerly in the Muslim League (Q). He faces Khurram Virak of the PTI. PTI must have hope in this metropolitan area.

Faisalabad has PP 97. Ajmal Cheema won as an independent and then joined PTI. His PTI ticket was handed to someone else, thus he ran as an independent. Ali Afzal Shah of the PTI was second in 2018 by roughly 5,000 votes. In 2018, PML(N) candidate came in third, but he’s now supporting Ajmal Cheema.

Jhang has 2 byelections on July 17. Faisal Hayat Jabwana will face PTI’s Azam Chela in PP 125. Mostly rural, this district. Faisal Hayat won the 2018 elections as an independent and joined the PTI. They defected.

224 has a fascinating circular situation. This time, the same candidates run on separate tickets. Zwar Hussain Waraich, who was with PTI, is now with PMLN, while Aamir Iqbal Shah is now with PTI. Zwar Hussain Waraich entered politics in 2002, and Aamir Shah has vanquished the Tareen family. The Arais have considerable votes in this area, and they reportedly support Iqbal Shah this time.

In Muzaffargarh, Basit Bukhari’s wife from PP 272 is running for office. Basit Bukhari’s mother was an MPA here. Basit Bukhari’s brother is also running, and PTI nominated Sardar Muazzam Jatoi. Family differences could divide the vote. Qayyum Jatoi, a PPP stalwart, backs Moazzam Jatoi.

Imran Khan’s large rally in the next constituency astonished everyone because PML-N’s Sabatin Shah is a strong contender compared to PTI’s Yasir Jatoi.


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July 16, 2022 12:21 am

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