By Muhammad Asad Chaudhry

Islamabad – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), a strong proponent of ‘change’ has failed to stay true to its slogan while awarding party tickets to individuals and has only introduced 9 new candidates out of a total 40 in Rawalpindi Division.

Rawalpindi Division is comprised of four districts with 13 national assembly constituencies including 7 in Rawalpindi, 2 in Jhelum, Chakwal and Attock districts while the division holds 27 provincial assembly seats including 15 in Rawalpindi, 5 in Attock, 4 in Chakwal and 3 in Jhelum.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has announced several times in the past that it would bring new people in electoral politics under the slogan of ‘Change’ and did follow its commitment to some extent in general elections 2013, but is again deviating from its earlier position.

The ratio of new and old candidates of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf across the country is not very different then Rawalpindi division. To understand the system of constituencies and candidates fielded by PTI, it is vital to understand the tiers of country’s electoral politics.

Generally there are three tiers of electoral politics; local level, district level, and provincial/national level.

Local level usually comprises of union council or ward system while its superior chamber is town or district council, which can be considered as district level tier. Meanwhile, the provincial or national level includes the provincial assemblies or national assembly.

The term old candidates refers to those who themselves or their immediate family members have been involved in district or provincial level politics while the new candidates would be meant those who never reached or contested for district level or national level i.e. town nazim, district chairman or MPA/MNA.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf fielded its candidates on 8 national assembly and 26 provincial assembly seats in Rawalpindi Division while adjusting seat on national and a provincial assembly seats in district Chakwal with Pakistan Muslim League-Quid-e-Azam (PML-Q) and also formed a coalition with Awami Muslim League on 2 national assembly seats in district Rawalpindi.

In district Rawalpindi, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf can only claim two candidates of National Assembly Amir Kiani from NA-61 and Sadaqat Abbasi from NA-57 as its own products because both of them have a long standing with the party while rest of the candidates are old stuff.

It is going into the election with a seat adjustment in NA-60 and NA-62 from where the head of Awami Muslim League Shaikh Rasheed Ahmed is contesting on its own symbol and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is backing him. Sheikh Rasheed is an old brand, which reached the national assembly first time in 1985 and later joined several parties including Islami Jamhori Itehad (IJI), PML-N and PML-Q.

PTI’s tickets for NA-59 and NA-63 have been granted to Ghulam Sarwar Khan, who also won provincial assembly and national assembly seats from Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and PML-Q while party’s candidate in NA-58 is Chaudhry Muhammad Azeem, who served as Tahsil Nazim, Gujar Khan in PML-Q’s tenure.

If we look into the choices made by PTI on provincial assembly seats in district Rawalpindi, there are only 3 candidates who can be considered as new entries.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s candidate from PP-6 Muhammad Latasib Satti is an old worker of the party and it is his first provincial assembly election.

Besides his background as a billionaire and a right hand to property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain, PTI’s candidate Amjad Mehmood Chaudhry from PP-13 can also be considered a new entry into national politics. He had once become a councillor in 2001 and later his group was elected twice in union council.

The one and only woman candidate of the party from PP-10 Ms. Naveed Sultana is also a new face but her nomination is being considered as a formality to fulfil election commission’s requirement otherwise she will lose the seat without any doubt.

Umer Tanveer Butt from PP-15 is also a new face, who contested his first provincial assembly election in 2013 on PTI’s ticket but could not succeed.

Chaudhry Sajid Mehmood from PP-9 is also an old worker of PTI who had fought election in 2013.       

Wasiq Qayum Abbasi from PP-12 is another brand of PTI, who contested his first provincial assembly election against Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on PTI’s ticket in 2013. 

Meanwhile, rest of the provincial assembly candidates in district Rawalpindi are old including Ghulam Murtaza Satti from PP-7 who is a former MNA of PPP, Javed Kausar from PP-8 had already contested 4 elections two as independent while two on PML-Q’s ticket but could not reach to the assembly.       

In PP-11 and PP-14 the tickets are awarded to Chaudhry Adnan and Muhammad Bashrat Raja instead of party’s outgoing MPAs Arif Abbasi and Asif Mehmood respectively while both of the ticket holders belong to old political families, who repeatedly switched loyalties and last time both were in PML-Q.

Raja Rashid Hafeez from PP-16 and Fiaz-ul-Hassan Chohan from PP-17 are with PTI since 2013 but they were already in politics and got elected as MPA on PML-Q and MMA’s ticket respectively in 2002.

Ijaz Khan Jazi, a candidate from PP-18 had successfully won provincial assembly seat in 2013 but prior to that had already contested for national assembly seat as independent while he remained with PML-N prior to his joining in PTI.

Ammar Sadique Khan from PP-19 started his carrier with PTI in by-elections for same seat which fell vacant after the death of his father Muhammad Sadique Khan but this candidate cannot be considered new as he is a nephew of Ghulam Sarwar Khan.

Malik Taimoor Masood from PP-20 was first elected MPA in 2013 on PTI ticket but had already contested election in 2008 on PML-Q’s ticket. 

In district Attock, PTI gave the tickets for both national assembly constituencies NA-55 and NA-56 to Major Tahir Sadiq, who was a part of PML-Q and also a close relative of Chaudhry Pervaiz Elehi. Major Thair Sadiq will also contest from a provincial assembly seat PP-3 on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s ticket this time.

Syed Yawar Abbas Bukhari from PP-1 belongs to an old political family and is a nephew of PTI’s outgoing MPA Syed Ejaz Hussain Bukhari, who had served as district chairman Attock in 1983 and as opposition leader in 1997 in district council.

Similarly, Qazi Ahmed Akbar from PP-2 is a son of Qazi Khalid Mehmood, who served twice as Tahsil Nazim on PML-Q’s platform in recent past while Malik Muhammad Anwar from PP-4 is also an old politician and served as provincial minister in PML-Q’s government while his brother Malik Liaqat served as Tahsil Nazim in Mushraf’s era as well.

PTI’s candidate Malik Jamshaid Altaf from PP-5 is also a former lawmaker and remained associated with PPP and PML-Q in past.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in district Jhelum awarded both national assembly tickets to a single family where Chaudhry Farukh Altaf and Fawad Chaudhry will contest from NA-66 and NA-67 respectively while former will also contest from a provincial assembly seat PP-27.

On other provincial assembly seats, Raja Yawar Kamal from PP-25 is also belongs to an old political family as his father served as district chairman while he himself run for provincial seat in 2013. Raja Zafar Iqbal from PP-26 also belongs to a political family as his father served as vice chairman district Jhelum.  

In district Chakwal, PTI did not issue tickets on NA-65 and PP-24 as Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and Hafiz Ummar Yasir of PML-Q will run from both constituencies with the help of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

However, Zulfiqar Ali Khan Dulla will contest the election on PTI’s ticket from NA-64, who was a MPA on PML-N’s ticket during 2008-13. 

Raja Yasir Humaion from PP-21 is also belongs to an old political party even before partition his grandfather was active in politics while in near past his uncle Raja Shahjahn Sarfaraz had served as MPA on PPP’s ticket.

Though, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s candidate from PP-22 Tariq Mehmood Kalas belongs to a well-connected political family but had contested provincial assembly first time in by-elections just a few months before the end of previous term and is again nominated as candidate.

Sardar Aftab Akbar Khan from PP-23 is also an old leader having presence in Chakwal district since the last many years and is a brother Sardar Ghulam Abbas, a political giant of the district.

This article was originally published in The Nation


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