Political parties, independents lock horns for upcoming polls in Hafizabad


ISLAMABAD: The state of affairs of NA-87, Punjab’s largest constituency, is muddled at best and chaotic at worst as the Bhattis of Burj Dara are at daggers drawn against each other and all the major political parties have fielded their candidates for the national and provincial assemblies.

Former MNA Liaquat Abbas Bhatti has pitched himself against his nephew Shaukat Ali Bhatti, a former MPA and provincial minister and a candidate of PTI on NA-87, the only National Assembly seat from Hafizabad.

Competing neck to neck with the established parties, Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYRA) has nominated candidates for all four seats of Hafizabad city with a population of 1.157 million, spanning over an area of 2,367 square kilometres and bundled under NA-87 for National Assembly and PP-69, PP-70 and PP-71 for Punjab Assembly.

From PML-N, Saira Afzal Tarar has secured NA ticket from the area while former MNA Mian Shahid Bhatti has been nominated from NA-103. Old loyalist to Bhattis, Doctor Muzaffar Sheikh, has parted ways with them and joined PML-N weeks before the election and has been awarded a ticket for PP-70, while Shoaib Shafiq Arain has been given a ticket from PP-71.

In NA-87, PTI has decided to side with the electables as Shaukat Ali Bhatti has bagged the only national assembly ticket.

Unfortunately, the rifts at the very core of Bhatti family have their roots in the reduction of National Assembly seats from two to one. Previously, Liaquat Bhatti and Shaukat Bhatti both contested for MNA seats. With only one seat remaining, the internal rifts have come out in the open.

From PP-69, PML-N’s Mamoon Jafar Tarar has been nominated.

A former PML-N loyalist, Malik Fayyaz Awan, jumped ship and joined PTI and got a ticket from PP-70, while Ahsan Anser Bhatti got PTI’s ticket from PP-71.

Former MNA Liaquat Abbas Bhatti, after being denied ticket by PTI, has decided to contest as an independent candidate from NA-87. From PP-69, former MPA from PML-N Asadullah Arain is contesting as an independent candidate while from PP-70, Pir Waseem Shah and from PP-71 Pir Shoaib Shah are the prominent candidates.

The candidate of PPP from NA- 87 is Malik Wazeer Awan. For the provincial seats from, Rai Safdar got a PPP ticket for PP-69 while for PP-70, Malik Fakhar has been nominated and from PP-71, Sheikh Meraj Din will be the candidate.

Taking advantage of the overwhelming Barelvi population in the district, Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYRA) has nominated candidates on all four seats. On NA-87, TLYRA has nominated Advocate Afrasiab Mohal, a young lawyer with no previous affiliation with the TLYRA. From PP-69, the party has given a ticket to Chaudhary Imdadullah Bhatti, from PP-70 to Barrister Pir Syed Wasimul Hassan Naqvi and from PP-71 to Qadir Khan Salman Khel.

It is pertinent to mention here that all of the TLYRA candidates are new to electoral politics or have very little experience.