- 175 candidates competing in 20 constituencies of Punjab with main contest expected between PTI and PML-N
LAHORE: The by-elections being held today (Sunday) in 20 constituencies of 14 districts of Punjab will decide the fate of Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz.
As many as 20 Punjab seats fell vacant after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) disqualified Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) members for switching loyalties. The PTI’s provincial legislators had decided to vote for Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N)’s candidate Hamza Shehbaz for the slot of Punjab Chief Minister; subsequently, they were de-seated from the Punjab Assembly under Article 63-A.
These elections gained hype after the Supreme Court decided that Hamza Shehbaz will again need to get the vote of confidence from the Punjab Assembly after the by-elections. The PTI had challenged the legality of the Punjab CM election. Moreover, the elections will test former prime minister Imran Khan’s popularity in the country’s most populous province, which decides a government in the centre.
In the hyped-up by-elections, 175 candidates will compete in 20 constituencies of Punjab and the main contest was between the PTI and PML-N, as both were eyeing the slot of the top chair in Punjab.
In the provincial capital, the two parties will battle for four seats: in PP-158 Mian Akram Usman of the PTI is contesting against Rana Ahsan Sharafat of the PML-N; in PP-167, Chaudhry Shabbir Gujar and Nazir Chohan of the PML-N are contesting the elections; in PP-168, Malik Nawaz Awan of the PTI is battling against Malik Asad Khokhar of the PML-N; and in PP-170, PTI’s Zaheer Abbas Khokhar is vying against PML-N’s Chaudhry Amin Gujjar.
An interesting contest will take place in Multan (PP-217) where the son of Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Zain Qureshi of the PTI, was contesting against Salman Naeem of the PML-N.
In Jhang, Mian Muhammad Azam of the PTI and Faisal Hayat of the PML-N are contesting the elections in PP-125. In PP-127, Mahar Nawaz Bharwana of the PTI was contesting against PML-N’s candidate Mahar Aslam Bharwana.
In Rawalpindi, Colonel Muhammad Shabbir Awan (retd) of the PTI is vying against Raja Sagheer Ahmed of the PML-N in PP-07, and in Khushab, Malik Hassan Aslam Awan of the PTI and Ameer Haider of the PML-N are contesting the election in PP-83.
Moreover, in PP-140 (Sheikhupura), PTI’s candidate Khurram Shahzad Advocate was running for the MPA seat against PML-N’s Khalid Arain, and in PP-97 (Chak Jhumra), it was PTI’s Ali Afzal Sahi versus Ajmal Cheema of the PML-N.
To grab the two seats in Lodhran, Amir Iqbal Shah of the PTI is vying against Zawar Hussain Waraich of the PML-N in PP-224, and in PP-228 it was a contest between Izzat Javed Khan of the PTI and Nazeer Ahmed Khan of the PML-N.
In PP-288 (Dera Ghazi Khan), Sardar Saifuddin Khosa of the PTI and Abdul Qadir Khan Khosa of the PML-N are contesting the elections, and in PP-202 (Sahiwal) Major (R) Ghulam Sarwar of the PTI is contesting against Nauman Langrial of the PML-N.
In PP-90 (Bhakkar), there is a contest between Irfan Ullah Khan Niazi of the PTI and Saeed Akbar Nawani of the PML-N, whereas Syed Aftab Raza of the PTI and Mian Fida Hussain of the PML-N is contesting the election in Bahawalnagar (PP-237).
In Muzaffargarh (PP-273), it is a contest between Yasir Arafat Jatoi of the PTI and Muhammad Sibtain Raza of the PML-N, whereas, in PP-282 (Layyah), PTI’s Qaiser Abbas will take on PML-N’s Muhammad Tahir Randhawa.
Meanwhile, over 4.5 million voters will exercise their right to vote on July 17 in the Punjab by-elections, which includes around 2.4 million male voters and over 2.1 million female voters. Moreover, the polling will start at 8 am and continue till 5 pm. Over 3,000 polling stations were set up in the 20 constituencies of which 700 polling stations were designated for women.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022