PML-N, PTI dissidents canvassing for independents in NA-15


ISLAMABAD: The seat from the National Assembly NA-15 constituency in Abbottabad has come under the spotlight as disgruntled leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders are campaigning for independent candidates.

The parties have not given tickets to PML-N’s Mehtab Abbasi and former PTI member Dr Azhar Khan Jadoon, as some of the respective areas of their previous constituencies NA-17 and NA-18 were merged into NA-15.

However, the PML-N gave a ticket to Capt (r) Safdar’s close aide Murtaza Javed Abbasi, who won the election in 2013 from the NA-18 constituency.

Similarly, PTI gave a ticket to Ali Asghar, whereas, Dr Azhar remained MNA from NA-17-Abbottabad 1.

Following the ticket allocation, the Mehtab Abbasi and Dr Azhar Khan are provoking voters to boycott the election or give votes to the independent candidates.

It is pertinent to mention here that Sardar Mehtab Abbasi is a political mentor of Azhar Khan Jadoon however; Jadoon defeated Mehtab Abbasi in 2013 elections.

However, the main issue of this constituency remained the same for years as no lawmaker tried to improve the health and education facilities. There is no proper establishment for schools or colleges in this area, moreover, the students travel for miles to get to schools.

Having said that, the main demands of the NA-15 residents are focused more on the ‘Pani do or Vote lo’ (provide water and take vote), ‘Sarak do or vote lo’ (give road and take vote) and ‘Taleem do or Vote lo’ (give education and take vote) issues.

Moreover, the voters in the NA-15 constituency are concerned that the PTI candidate is not a wise option as the party’s office bearer Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob, is also contesting in the upcoming polls from the same constituency and his clan ‘Kharlal’ has around 90,000 votes in this constituency.

PTI candidate, Ali Asghar had contested the election on a Provincial Assembly seat in 2013, but, he remained unsuccessful despite the fact that Imran Khan’s campaigning in his constituency.

On the other hand, the PML-N candidate is trying to get the support of Sardar Farid and independent candidate Rajab Ali Khan Abbasi at the same time for the Provincial Assembly seat.

Abbasi is aware that both of the candidates have their personal vote bank and he can win the NA seat while making arrangements with one of them.

In the 2013 election, Murtaza Javed Abbasi had defeated Sardar Yaqoob with over 25,000 votes as he had secured 69,848 votes.

What cannot be overlooked here is that the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan factor as after the new delimitation, the ‘Barelavi’ sect has stronghold areas that are included in the NA-15 and voters are very optimistic that Syed Makdoom Arif can win big.

TLP candidate Syed Makdoom Arif is the family member of peer Toree Sharif and this is one of the biggest ‘shrines’ in this constituency.

The political pundits believe that the internal rift within PTI and PML-N will equally cost both the parties but the real contest will be between the Murtaza Abbasi and Sardar Yaqoob.

While talking to Pakistan Today, a voter of the NA-15 seat, Malik Israr said, “No one has done anything for the voters.”

“There are no high schools or colleges in this constituency,” he added.

Israr, further said that ‘the water issue is compelling the residents to move to other cities’.

“PTI government has ended the ‘Maktab’ school in some areas so that’s why the nursery and prep class students are facing difficulties,” he added.

Overall, 13 candidates are contesting the upcoming election from NA-15 as Murtaza Javed Abbasi is contesting with the ‘lion’ symbol, Ali Asghar with the ‘bat’ symbol, Makhdom Arif Hussain Kazmi with the ‘crane’ symbol, Sardar Manzoor Mumtaz Abbasi with the ‘arrow’ and Fazal ur Rehman with the ‘book’ symbol.

The total voters of this constituency are 4, 78,336 and the Abbasi, Syed, Malik and Kharlal’ clans have a stronghold in this constituency.