ARIFWALA

Political campaigns have been started by the parties' and independent ones as they are holding public gatherings and corner meetings here to woo the voters.

In Arifwala tehsil, 29 candidates submitted their nomination papers for National Assembly constituency NA-166, 24 for PP-230 and 29 are in the run for PP-231.

For NA-166, former MNA Mian Muhammad Amjad Joyia claimed to be a strong candidate of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) while the nomination papers of former PPP candidate Muzaffer Noor Sukhera were rejected by both the returning officer and the election tribunal.

Another candidate Raja Talal Saeed, son of former federal minister in the PML-N government Raja Shahid Saeed also filed his nomination papers and striving for the PML-N ticket.

Advocate Aish Mohammad Sira also filed nomination papers from NA-166 and vying for the PTI ticket.

It is to be noted that Advocate Aish Mohammad Sira contested general elections in 1993 from NA-95 and lost. Similarly, former PML-N MPA Dr Farukh also filed nomination papers from NA-166 and claimed that he had filed papers on the directions of the party high command.

Likewise, former Punjab Food minister Tikka Mohammad Iqbal and his nephew Advocate Tikka Farid Mohammad Khan also filed their nomination papers. Both the candidates are aspirants to the PPP tickets from the constituency.

Moreover, former PML-N MNA Rana Zahid Hussain, his wife Saima and daughter Insbat also filed nomination papers from the constituency. However, the nomination papers of Rana Zahid were rejected by the returning officer for not fulfilling requirement under Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution. His appeal is pending before the tribunal.

Ghazanfer Abbas Syed filed nomination papers from the platform of MQM while former MNA from Burewala Asgar Ali Jatt also submitted his nomination papers from NA-166 as independent candidate. However, main contest is expected to be between the PML-N and PTI candidates. It is to be noted that if the appeal of PML-N candidate Rana Zahid is rejected by the tribunal then his wife or daughter will contest the elections.

In constituency PP-230, a tough contest is expected between the PML-N candidate former MPA Dr Farrukh and PTI candidate. The PML-N candidate claimed that the PML-N had awarded him ticket for the constituency while his rival Naeem Ibrahim dubbing himself a PTI confident from the constituency. While Mohammad Tariq Sheikh also filed nomination papers from PP-230 and claimed to be a PTI candidate.

Similarly, for constituency PP-231, former Tehsil Nazim Khan Ameer Hamza Khan Rath is in the election contest as the PTI candidate and is confident that the party would award him a ticket. Whereas former PML-Q MPA, who later joined the Forward Bloc, Pir Kashif Chishti filed his nomination papers and claiming to be a consensus PML-N candidate from the constituency. Rana Mohammad Ahsan Munga Khan is contesting the elections from the Jamaat-e-Islami platform and Rana Shehzad Hamid eyeing a PPP ticket for PP-231.

Moreover, former MPA Rana Ghulam Qadir Muna Khan is contesting the elections as Q-League candidate and also filed party ticket along with the nomination papers. Lakhoka brothers fielded their own candidate Nazir Farid and are hopeful to make a difference in the constituency. Former Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association chairman Ch Mohammad Akram and his son Imran Akram also submitted their nomination papers from PP-231.

According local political observer, irrespective of the number of candidates in the run for the Provincial Assembly constituency, a neck and neck contest is anticipated between the PML-N strongman Pir Kashif Chishti and PTI candidate Ameer Hamza khan Rath while the PPP candidate Rana Shehzad Hamid is capable of making feel his presence in the elections arena.