With Ch Nisar Ali Khan parting ways, PML-N to deal with multiple challenges in Pindi District
In the general elections 2008, the PML-N had won all seven National Assembly seats and the 14 provincial assembly seats in Rawalpindi district however it could secure four National Assembly seats and nine Punjab Assembly’s in 2013 polls. Imran Khan, Sh Rashid Ahmed and Ghulam Sarwar Khan happened to be the three arch rivals who denied the ruling PML-N clean sweep in the garrison city during the last general elections.
At present PML-N is facing strong challenge from within the party in Rawalpindi district after the award of tickets for the July 25 elections.
Now the party has seen one new rival in the form of its own former stalwart ex-Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan, who has decided to contest elections independently due to the party’s “mishandling” of the Supreme Court decision in Panama Papers leaks.
Elections on five main seats —NA-59 which is a rural area of Rawalpindi; NA-63 which is rural Taxila and Rawalpindi; NA-57 which is Murree; NA-60 and NA-62 in Rawalpindi city— in the district will be interesting due to some influential political personalities contesting from there.
Ch Nisar is be contesting from NA-59 and NA-63 and two provincial assembly seats as an independent candidate while two PML-N leaders have also submitted nomination papers from these constituencies.
Former MPA Qammarul Islam will face Ch Nisar in NA-59 while Sardar Mumtaz will contest against him in Taxila. On the other hand, former Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) MNA Ghulam Sarwar Khan will also contest against Ch Nisar in NA-59 and NA-63.
Elections on these seats will be interesting, with the main contest being between Ch Nisar Ali Khan and Ghulam Sarwar Khan.
The other more interesting contest in the Rawalpindi district will be in NA-57, Murree where former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is facing his traditional PPP and PTI rivals. Though the main PPP leaders in Murree jointed the PTI, the party has opted to give the party ticket to former president Punjab north, Sadaqat Abbasi.
The most challenging candidate in NA-62 is six-time winner and former information minister Sh Rashid Ahmed. Former PML-N MNA Shakil Awan will not face Sheikh Rashid as the party did not give him the ticket and instead fielded Daniyal Chaudhry, who is new in politics. He is the son of veteran politician, Ch Tanveer.
A lawyer by profession, Daniyal Chaudhry is known to be more close to Maryam Nawaz and was part of her social media desk the last five years, during the PML-N’s tenure in the centre. Although Malik Shakil defeated Sheikh Rashid Ahmed in the 2010 by-elections, the party decided he would contest the elections for PA-18 instead. Ch Tanveer wanted the party’s ticket for NA-60 for his son but the party decided in favour of former MNA Hanif Abbasi in that constituency.
In 2013 general elections, Sh Rashid had defeated PML-N with the support of PTI. Meanwhile, PPP has not awarded ticket to any prominent candidates for the upcoming elections in Pindi district.