ISLAMABAD: With the election fever yet to pick up in most parts of the country, 11,855 candidates have been left in the run for 849 general seats of national and provincial assemblies after withdrawal of nominations and scrutiny by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
According to the data released by the ECP, 3,459 candidates will contest 272 general seats of the national assembly, while 8,396 candidates will fight for 577 general seats of the four provincial assemblies.
The figures show a significant decrease in the number of contestants as compared to the 2013 general polls when 15,629 candidates — 4,671 for national assembly and 10,958 for provincial assemblies — were in the field after the completion of scrutiny process.
This time, a total of 3,459 candidates — 1,623 from Punjab, 824 from Sindh, 725 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 287 from Balochistan — are in the run for the 272 general seats of the national assembly.
The ECP data of election for general seats of provincial assemblies shows that a total of 4,036 candidates will fight for 297 general seats of the Punjab Assembly; 2,252 candidates will contest 130 general seats of the Sindh Assembly; 1,165 will compete for 99 KP Assembly seats and 943 will vie for 51 general seats of the Balochistan Assembly.
Interestingly, the leadership of major political parties and other political heavyweights will contest the upcoming elections from more than one constituency.
Drop in number of contestants as over 15,600 took part in 2013 elections
PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif will contest from four constituencies of three provinces including NA-132 (Lahore), NA-192 (Dera Ghazi Khan), NA-249 (Karachi) and NA-3 (Swat).
In Swat, Mr Sharif will face PTI’s Saleem Rehman, PPP’s Shehryar Amin Zeb, MMA’s Maulana Hujjat Ullah and ANP’s Abdul Karim Khan. For NA-132 (Lahore) seat, other contestants against the PML-N chief are PTI’s Mansha Sindhu and PPP’s Samina Khalid Ghurki. In D.G. Khan, PTI’s Sardar Mohammad Khan Leghari will contest NA-192 against the PML-N chief. In Karachi, Mr Sharif will fight his electoral battle in NA-249 against PTI’s Faisal Vawda and PPP’s Qadir Khan Mandokhel.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan has submitted his nomination from five constituencies — NA-35 (Bannu), NA-53 (Islamabad), NA-95 (Mianwali), NA-131 (Lahore) and NA-243 (Karachi).
In Bannu, Mr Khan will face former chief minister Mohammad Akram Khan Durrani of the MMA and PPP’s Syeda Yasmeen Safdar. In Mianwali, those in the electoral race with the PTI chief include PML-N’s Obaidullah Shadi Khel and PPP’s Mohammad Khalid Khan.
In Islamabad, other contestants include former premier and PML-N candidate Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, PPP’s Syed Sibghatullah Bokhari and Mian Mohammad Aslam of the MMA.
In Lahore, an interesting contest is expected between the PTI chief and PML-N’s Khawaja Saad Rafiq. Asim Mehmood of the PPP will also contest from the same constituency.
In Karachi, Mr Khan will face former deputy speaker of the Sindh Assembly Syeda Shehla Raza, MQM’s Ali Raza Abidi, MMA’s Osama Razi, PSP’s Muzammil Qureshi and PML-N’s Sheikh Mohammad Shah.
PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari will contest three NA seats including one from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
In NA-6 (Malakand) constituency, Bilawal will face ANP’s Zahid Khan, PTI’s Mehboob Shah, MMA’s Maulana Asadullah and PML-N’s Javed Akhtar Tajik.
In Larkana (NA-200), Bilawal will face PTI’s Haleema Bhutto, while in NA-246 (Karachi) the PPP chairman will face MQM’s Mehfooz Yar Khan, PML-N’s Saleem Zia and PTI’s Abdul Shakoor Shah.
His father Asif Ali Zardari will contest election from NA-213 (Shaheed Benazirabad) against PTI’s Farooq Chandio and PML-N’s Ghulam Mohiyyuddin Shah.
Chief of his own faction of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Maulana Fazlur Rahman will contest NA-38 and NA-39 seats from Dera Ismail Khan. He will face PPP’s Faisal Karim Kundi, former deputy speaker national assembly, and PTI’s Ali Amin Gandapur in NA-38. In the other constituency, too, the JUI-F chief will face PPP’s Faisal Karim Kundi, while other contestants for NA-39 seat include PTI’s Mohammad Yaqoob Shaikh and PML-N’s Akbar Khan.
Former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan will contest NA-59 and NA-63 seats from Rawalpindi, where the PML-N has fielded Raja Qamar Zaman and Mumtaz Khan against him in the respective constituencies. His traditional electoral rival, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, will compete on both seats on a PTI ticket.
In the two other national assembly constituencies of Rawalpindi, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad will contest NA-60 and NA-62.
Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq, who is a sitting senator, will contest NA-7 seat (Lower Dir) and NA-23 (Charsadda) on MMA ticket. He will face PML-N’s Sobia Khalid, PTI’s Basheer Khan and PPP’s Advocate Shahid Jan in Lower Dir and Qaumi Watan Party chief Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao in Charsadda.
Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali Khan is in the run for NA-24 (Charsadda) against Pir Syed Gohar Shah of MMA, Pir Aftab of PPP and Mian Alamgir Shah of PML-N.
Ayesha Gulalai who formed her own faction of PTI will contest NA-25 (Nowshera) seat against former KP chief minister Pervez Khattak. She also submitted her nomination papers from other national assembly constituencies.
Former NA Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq (PML-N) will be in the run for NA-129 (Lahore) seat against PTI’s Aleem Khan and PPP’s Iftikhar Shahid.
Former premier Yusuf Raza Gilani will contest NA-158 (Multan) seat, while his sons Ali Moosa Gilani and Ali Qadir Gilani are in the run for NA-157 and NA-154 seats.
Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai will contest NA-263 seat.
Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2018