- Haq says he’s likely to contest from NA-117.
- PTI has never won from this constituency.
- He has begun campaigning for polls alongside provincial ticket-holders.
LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s (PTI) leader and renowned singer Abrar ul Haq will be fielded by the party in Lahore’s Shahdara area, while his brother Major (retd) Israr ul Haq will be put up against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Ahsan Iqbal in Narowal.
The singer-cum-politician has already begun his election campaign and is addressing rallies along with two ticket-holders for the provincial assembly under NA-117, Lahore 1.
This seat, ever since PTIcontested elections here in 1997, has never been won by the party’s fielded candidates. The constituency has always been claimed by PML-N or its allies, except for the years 1970 and 1977 when Pakistan Peoples Party’s SM Masood and Sher Muhammad Bhatti won.
The constituency covers areas including the entire Shahdara and the population living close to the Ravi bed and the entire Badami Bagh, Siddiqia Colony, etc.
The party, led by Chairman Imran Khan, has decided to field Haq from this seat and with the consent of the party’s high command, he has also kick-started his campaign here.
Even if the elections for the NA and provinces are held after three to four months, a good fight is expected this time between the PML-N and PTI.
When contacted, Haq told The News that he was likely to contest from NA-117, Lahore; whereas his brother might get fielded from Narowal. In 2013 and 2018, Haq had contested two NA polls from Narowal but both times, PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal bagged victory.
Electoral history of NA-117
In 1985, in the non-party basis elections, Pir Muhammad Ashraf won from here while defeating Khawaja Tariq Rahim. In 1988, Pakistan Awami Ittehad’s (PAI) General (retd) MH Ansari won this seat against PPP’s Sheikh Rafique. Islami Jamhuri Ittehad (IJI) or its main component Muslim League had not fielded any candidate which benefitted General Ansari. In 1990’s general elections, it was IJI’s Humayun Akhtar Khan who won from here with a significant lead against PPP’s Sheikh Rafique.
In the 1993 elections, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif contested from this constituency and won comfortably against PPP’s Haji Aziz ur Rehman Chan. In the 1993 by-polls, it was Nawaz’s brother Abbas Sharif who won after a close fight with a PPP candidate.
In 1997, PML-N fielded Mian Azhar on this seat which he won with a big margin against Pakistan Muslim League-Junejo’s (PML-J) Mian Ahmed Mehmood. Between 1988 to 1997, this constituency was NA-92.
In the 2002 elections, Hafiz Salman Butt, a candidate of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) backed by PML-N won defeating the then Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s (PML-Q) head Mian Azhar.
Butt contested the polls as an independent candidate as Muttahida Majlis–e–Amal (MMA) had also fielded its candidate Hafiz Abdul Wadood Shahid.
The constituency by then had become NA-118.
In the 2008 elections, former PML-N MPA Malik Riaz was fielded from this area and won by a big margin. In the 2013 and 2018 polls, PML-N’s Riaz once again claimed victory, but PTI candidates were in the second spot.
Imran Khan surpasses political rivals in popularity survey: Miftah
- Miftah, Abbasi, Khokhar testing waters for launch of a political party.
- Khokar is more keen to launch the party than the other two.
- There is space for launching a new political party, they believe.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Miftah Ismail has said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan had surpassed all political leaders in popularity in a recent opinion poll, The News reported on Wednesday.
Miftah along with Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and Mustafa Khokhar, who had earlier come up with the idea of seminars on “Reimagining Pakistan”, is also presently testing waters for the launch of a political party.
Miftah told The News no decision has been taken as yet, but presently they are seriously thinking on the issue.
He disclosed that they had also done a public opinion survey in July this year, which showed Imran way ahead of all in popularity.
What Abbasi said about his political future in Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and about the need for a new political party is part of the trio’s strategy to test the waters before reaching a final decision.
Abbasi, Miftah, and Mustafa are presently discussing the launch of a political party with different people besides encouraging discussion on the issue in the media and social media to assess whether it is a doable option.
Among the three, Khokar is more keen to launch the party than the other two who are not fully clear as yet whether they should do it or not.
All three, according to Miftah, agree there is space for launching a new political party in the present political situation. The question, he said, remains whether they have the capacity to attract people to join a new political party.
Through a leading entity, conducting public opinion polls, Miftah said they have also got a survey done to assess the popularity of different political parties and leaders. Their reading of the survey report made them reach the conclusion of a need for a new political party.
The three believe a significant number of voters, who are presently inclined towards Imran Khan and PTI for their rejection of PML-N, can be attracted by a new political party because neither the staunch supporters of Imran Khan nor of Nawaz would vote for any other political party.
In view of the post-May 9 difficult situations faced by Imran Khan and his party, the PTI, it is believed the new political party may attract significant voters (not the staunch supporters) of the PTI, who would never vote for PMLN or other political party in Punjab.
Among the three, Khokhar, left the PPP after the party’s leadership objected to his certain statements criticising powerful quarters. Miftah got the cold shoulder from the PML-N top leadership for publicly defending his economic solutions, which are different from that of Ishaq Dar’s.
Miftah also criticised Dar’s policies as finance minister and argued that he too was criticised as finance minister by Dar. However, his criticism of Dar’s policies has made him an alien to Sharifs.
Abbasi has started distancing himself from the PML-N top leadership for the last several months. The PML-N top leadership was keen not to let Abbasi drift from them, but the latter sounded dissatisfied with the politics of all the three leading political parties including PML-N.
Abbasi also did not show his keenness in the PML-N ticket for the next elections, while he had already declined to continue as senior vice-president of the party after Maryam Nawaz was announced as senior vice-president and chief organiser of PML-N.
On the direction of Nawaz Sharif, Maryam had visited Abbasi at the latter’s residence in Islamabad to convince him not to leave the office of senior vice-president of PMLN. Shahid had politely declined. Now, he appears to be quitting the PML-N anytime.
What will happen when Nawaz Sharif lands in Pakistan?
- Nawaz Sharif to attend rally on Oct 21, appear before court the next day.
- “Consultations being held on seeking protective bail from another court.”
- Dastagir adds that Nawaz can get nation out of difficulties even today.
LAHORE: The legal minds of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) are holding consultations on challenges party’s supremo Nawaz Sharif faces upon his return to the country, it emerged on Tuesday.
Speaking to Geo News, former federal minister Khurram Dastagir said that Nawaz will go to attend a rally at Minar-e-Pakistan after landing at the Lahore airport on October 21 and will appear before a court the next day.
However, he added, the party is holding discussions on legal matters for the intervening period between his arrival and appearance before the respective court and consultations are being held on seeking protective bail from another court [to avoid arrest].
The former prime minister has been in London since November 2019 after he left the country for medical treatment. He was serving a jail term in corruption cases when the Lahore High Court (LHC) allowed him to seek treatment from abroad.
On Monday, Interior Minister Sarfraz Bugti created a stir when he said that the PML-N supremo would be arrested upon return but backtracked his remarks following a strong response from the party.
The PML-N is preparing for a grand reception for Nawaz and plans to hold a massive rally of 1 million people in their stronghold — Lahore.
Dastagir, while responding to a question, said that the former premier had gone abroad on the permission granted to him by two courts and would enter with their approval.
“An appeal is pending before a court and Nawaz Sharif will pursue it upon return,” he said.
The former minister added that people should understand that those responsible for the corruption are those who have been doing political engineering since 2014.
“The situation was bad in 2013 but Nawaz Sharif brought the country out of the worst situation and even today, he can get the nation out of these difficulties.”
To a question, Dastagir said the 15-party coalition is responsible for the successes and failures of the 16-month government.
“PML-N’s 16-month performance is a story of pulling the country out of crises,” he added.
When asked about the reports of the formation of a new political party, he responded, “Shahid Khaqan Abbasi should have told that there is peace in Karachi today and credit goes to the PML-N.”
Referring to the spike in militancy in the country, the PML-N leader said the terrorism that is increasing today is because of Imran Khan and Arif Alvi who offered amnesty to the Taliban in 2021.
About a rumoured “secret” meeting of Shehbaz Sharif earlier this month, he said, “I do not know about the meeting in Gujranwala, I cannot deny or confirm it.”
Senate committee recommends ECP hold polls within 90 days
- Committee recommends ECP announce polls schedule at earliest.
- ECP official says preliminary delimitations will be published on Sep 27.
- About 60 days are required for filing and disposal of representations, ECP.
ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs has asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to conduct elections within 90 days by reducing the time for filing representations for delimitation from 30 to seven days, The News reported.
In a meeting presided over by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Taj Haider, the committee also drew the electoral body’s attention towards its constitutional obligation of holding polls in the context of the National Assembly’s dissolution.
The Senate panel recommended that the commission announce the schedule of the election at the earliest to ensure clarity on the uncertainty around conducting elections.
Briefing the committee on the polls-related matters, ECP Secretary Omar Hamid Khan said the preliminary delimitations will be published on September 27.
However, he explained a period of approximately 60 days will be required for filing and disposal of representations.
He told the committee that some 91,809 polling stations were to be established out of which 49,919 had been designated as sensitive or highly sensitive.
He pointed out that out of the 49,919 polling stations, 17,411 had been categorised as highly sensitive and another 32,508 as sensitive while 41,809 (around 45%) were designated as normal.
He contended that the general election will encompass 266 National Assembly constituencies and 593 provincial assemblies’ constituencies. Moreover, he noted around 1 million polling staff will be required for the upcoming general election.
The committee inquired about the methods for the consolidation of results. The secretary of ECP said electronic devices having ECP-developed software will be used to send snapshots of Form-45 to returning officers and software was also equipped to keep track of time and place of snapshots in order to ensure the legitimacy of elections.
Regarding the use of funds for development schemes, Senator Haider emphasised that funds should be allocated to the approved schemes. The secretary ECP explained that there was no ban on development schemes approved prior to August 15.
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