Tribal chiefs to face tough contest in Dera Ghazi Khan district


DERA GHAZI KHAN: Candidates in Dera Ghazi Khan (DGK) have for the first time pushed feudal lords and tribal chieftains aside in the district as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) look far ahead from their opponents in the race for four National Assembly and eight Punjab Assembly constituencies in the upcoming general elections.

Once considered a stronghold of the Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N), the political atmosphere in the area has changed considerably in the recent years.

The previously NA-171 has now become NA-189 (DG Khan-1), NA-173 has become NA-190 (DG Khan-2) while NA-172  has now become NA-191 (DG Khan-3). NA-192 (DG Khan-2) comprised almost entirety of the area that were parts of the previous NA-173 and NA-172.

According to details provided by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the total numbers of registered voters in NA-189 are 334,167 that includes 147,106 male and 187,061 females. The polling stations are 271 with 310 female booths and 363 for males. This constituency of DG Khan also includes the mountainous areas of Koh-e-Suleman. Sardar Amjad Farooq Khosa was elected as a member of National Assembly in 2013 from this constituency but is now contesting elections from NA-190. This constituency was considered as a stronghold of PML-N but PTI has made inroads in recent past.

PTI candidate Khawaja Sheraz Mehmood is all set to contest against PML-N’s Shamoona Ambreen.  Jamshed Ahmad Dasti of Awami Raj Party is also contesting from this constituency.

According to public opinion, PTI candidate Khuwaja Sheraz has gained considerable popularity in the recent past. Families with public reputation like the Leghari, Buzdar and Khetran assured Khuwaja Sheraz of their full support.  Aman Development Organisation President Ghulam Mujtaba Zafar Leghari claims Khuwaja Sheraz will succeed with a heavy majority.

NA-190 is the most interesting competition in DG Khan as two relatives with strong influence in the area are competing against each other.

Chief of Khosa tribe and former governor of Punjab Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa is contesting from the PTI platform while Sardar Amjad Farooq Khan Khosa is competing against him as an independent candidate.

According to ECP, the total number of registered voters in NA-190 are 336,896 that includes 179,311 male and 127,698 females. There are 253 polling stations and 668 polling booths, 367 of which are for men while the remaining are reserved for women.

NA-191 (DG Khan-3) is a constituency which includes DG Khan city and consists mostly of the urban population. Feudal lords have historically reigned supreme in the constituency.

Former federal Minister Sardar Awais Ahmad Leghari is contesting from a PML-N ticket, former chief minister Punjab Sardar Doost Muhammad Khan Khosa is contesting independently while Zartaj Gul Wazir is all set to contest from PTI’s platform.

Zartaj Gul Wazir is expected to benefit in the upcoming elections given the political climate. Social worker Rashid Hussain Rajpoot claims that Zartaj Gul will win with at least a 10,000 votes lead. 375,287 registered voters are entitled to vote in the constituency including 211,152 males and 164,135 females. There are 261 polling stations in the constituency with 746 polling booths, 336 of which are for women and 410 for men. In 2013, Hafiz Abdul Kareem was elected as a member of National Assembly from this constituency.

Political observers have been taking interest in NA-192 because former chief minister Punjab Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif is contesting from here. In 2013, Sardar Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari  was elected as a member of National assembly from this constituency.

According to details provided by the ECP, total number of registered voters in the constituency are 295,364 which includes 169,847 males and 128,571 females. There are a total of 231 polling stations with 657 polling booths which includes 377 for men and 280 for women.