Independents to give a tough time to PML-N, PTI in Okara’s NA-141

  • Masood Rabera, Khalilur Rehman considered strong candidates compared to Samsam Bukhari, Nadeem Rabera

ISLAMABAD: A tough competition is expected between two independent candidates in Okara’s NA-141 constituency of the National Assembly although the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidates are also in the race.

Masood Shafqat Rabera and Chaudhary Khalilur Rehman, both the independents, are considered strong candidates as compared to Nadeem Abbas Rabera of the PML-N and Syed Samsam Ali Shah Bukhari of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

With 452,061 voters, the NA-141 constituency consists of 404 villages excluding the Renala City. Currently, the constituency has become larger as compared to the 2013 elections after the addition of eight union councils of Renala and Akhtarabad.

The major clans of this constituency are Bhatti, Kharral, Rabera, Siyal and Chaudhry and no one can win the election without their supports, according to locals. In this area, unemployment and lack of education and health facilities are the major problems.

The residents including students of this constituency have to visit to Okara and other cities for getting health facilities or education. Khalilur Rehman, an independent candidate, is going to change traditional politics of this constituency as former lawmakers did nothing to change the situation.

The people of the NA-141 told Pakistan Today that Khalilur Rehman can win the seat for the National Assembly as he was spending excessive money on the villagers. In addition to this, some powerful people of this constituency like Noor Kharral and three major religious figures of this constituency are clearly supporting him.

Masood Rabera is also contesting the election from this constituency as an independent candidate. He has a huge following in the constituency due to his late father Shafqat Abbas Rabera. People told Pakistan Today that PTI did not give the party ticket to Masood Rabera due to a tussle with PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

Rabera told his close aide that he will give his seat to the PTI chairman after his expected win in the tough competition. “We are still not interested to leave our party – PTI,” he said. Interestingly, some PTI leaders and some former influential lawmakers are supporting Rabera in his election campaign.

PML-N ticketholder Nadeem Abbas Rabera’s position is weak in this constituency due to non-development work during the last five years. Khalilur Rehman has also dented the vote bank of the former lawmaker. In 2013, he had received 90,652 votes and defeated Rai Aslam Kharral, a PML-Q candidate from NA 143.

After much deliberation, PTI has issued party ticket to Samsam Ali Bukhari, a former PPP leader who joined the party in 2015. Some observers say that the position of Samsam Bukhari is also weak in this constituency as the NA-141 is new for him after the delimitation. The people said that he has the support of the religious figures and devotees.