Rashid Ashraf

NOWSHERA VIRKAN - As the general elections are around the corner after completion of five-year term of the elected government, new electoral alliances and panels are being formed.

Such panels are being formed at NA-100 constituency to win the upcoming elections. Voters in tehsil Nowshera Virkan are divided on the basis of castes as the right is exercised according to their understanding, relations and contacts with candidates. The number of ideological and party voters is very nominal. Jatt, Rajpoot, Gujjar and Araian are major costs of the area and their cooperation plays a key role for success of candidates, that’s why all the candidates or probable candidates are trying to win the families’ support.

Normally, candidates take part in elections with panels at NA-100 constituency where the two major groups are Nahra group and Ittehad group. When the former contested the 2008 general elections, Azhar Qayum Nahra was a candidate for NA-100 and in both the Punjab Assembly constituencies - PP-101 and 102 - Amant Ali Virk and Rafaqat Hussain Gujjar respectively contested the elections. From Ittehad group, Bilal Ejaz was a candidate for NA 100 while Khalid Pervaiz Virk from PP 101 and irfan Bshir Gujjar form PP-102 participated in the race.

Haji Mudassasar Qayum Nahra won the seat by getting 57,320 votes as independent candidates, and the runner-up was Rana Bilal Ejaz of PML-Q by getting 53,285 votes while PPP’s Tariq Yaqoob Fatah Muhammad was at number three position by grabbing 32,511 votes. At that time, PML-N candidate Ashfaq Ahmed was at number four position. The turnover was 48.05 percent in 2008 general polls of NA-100. Haji Mudassar Qayyum Nahra after winning the seat of NA-100 in 2008 joined the PML-N.

NA-100 consists of 28 union councils of Tehsil Nowshera Virkan, - two urban UCs and 23 rural UCs, and three union councils from tehsil Wazirabad. Total number of registered voters was 329,185 in 2008 elections. With 166,414 registered voters, PP-101 had a turnover of 46.88 percent in 2008 general elections. PML-Q’s Khalid Pervaiz won the election by getting 26,885 votes while the runner-up was independent candidate Amant Ali who got 21,005 votes, and Zohair Zia Manj remained third with 16,079 votes.

From PP-102 with 162,771 registered votes, Irfan Basher won the election in 2008 on the PML-Q ticket by getting 26,888 votes however, the runner-up was Rafaqat Hussain who got 26,722 votes, the difference was only 166 votes. The third position was of Pakistan People’s Party’s Sarfraz Khan who got 20,317 votes.

In 2010, MNA Haji Mudassar Qayyum Nahra was disqualified because of fake degree. Azhar Qayum Nahra, former town nazim and younger brother of Haji Mudassar Qayyum Nahra, was nominated as the candidate of PML-N. However, the PPP awarded the ticket to Tassadaq Masood Khan. The seat was won by the PPP’s candidate by getting 71,112 votes and Azhar Qayum Nahra got 66,901 votes.

Now, the PML-N is likely to award the party ticket to Azhar Qayyum or Billal Ejaz. In the panel of Haji Mudassar Qayyum, Saifullah Virk and Rafaqat Hussian Gujjar are the candidates for two Punjab constituencies PP-101 and PP-102 respectively while the opposite group’s Bilal Ijaz is candidate for NA-100, Khalid Pervez Virk for PP-101 and Irfan Bashir Gujjr for PP-102. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s two candidates for the Punjab Assembly seats are Abid Sohail Virk for PP-101 and Hakeem Saifullah for PP 102 but for NA-100 the party has not fielded its candidate so far. It is a perception that the PTI candidates will get a number of votes in the upcoming elections.

The Jamaat-e-Islami is also taking active part in the electioneering as it has a large number of ideological supporters and voters. Sardra Riaz Ahmed is JI’s candidate for NA-100, Mazhar Iqbal Sajid, former naib nazim, for PP-101 and Muhammad Sarwar Warriach for PP-102.