–Number of National Assembly seats in Attock reduced to 2 following preliminary delimitation
ISLAMABAD: A mixed result from Attock district is likely in the upcoming general election as a healthy competition is expected among the candidates contesting for the seats of the national assembly (NA) and provincial assembly (PA).
According to a preliminary revised delimitation list by ECP, Attock’s member of national assembly (MNA) seats have decreased from three to two, while the constituencies for Punjab Assembly have also witnessed a decrease from 8 to 7 seats. The total registered voters are 1,146,665 including 615,708 male and 530,957 female voters.
In NA-55 of Attock district, the actual race is among three candidates out of many. The candidate of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is a famous politician Major (r) Tahir Saddiq, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) candidate is Sheikh Aftab, and Zulfiqar Hayat is of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).
At present, election campaigns of all three candidates are in full swings in the area. Although seasoned politician Sheikh Aftab of PML-N is considered to be a strong candidate to win NA-55, however, Major Sadiq has been giving the PML-N candidate a tough time with his strong election campaign. It is likely that Major Sadiq may win the constituency with a handsome margin as important families, groups, and panels have joined the ‘Major Group’.
A strong fight is expected among five candidates who are Major Sadiq of PTI, Malik Sohail of PML-N, Pir Faisal Shahzad of Tehreek Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY), Sardar Saleem Haider of PPP and independent candidate Malik Shaharyar Khan.
Each candidate is running his campaign with zeal, zest and the confidence that he will win with a majority of voters. However, a surprising result in favour of PPP candidate Sardar Saleem Haider is largely anticipated, especially after the PPP co-chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s recent visit in the area in addition to, door to door campaigning.
Major Sadiq is popular among the public and is a strong candidate but he is participating from two constituencies and one provincial assembly seat that are NA-55 and NA-56. It is said that he will win one NA seat and one provincial assembly seat from the district.
Another strong candidate is Malik Sohail from PML-N. Malik had earlier joined PTI but left the party due to some differences with Major Sadiq.
Malik Shahryar Khan is an independent candidate launched by famous ‘Khonda Group’ of the district after he was refused a ticket by PML-N. The Khonda family is the owner of 84 villages of the district, while ‘Khonda Group’ has a handsome vote bank in the entire district. Malik Shaharyar Khan is the son of former MNA and head of ‘Khonda Group’ Malik Allah Yar Khan.
Six candidates are contesting from PP-I and a tough competition is expected here. A tough competition is likely particularly between PTI’s Yawar Bokhari and an independent candidate Malik Hameed Akbar. Other candidates include Sheikh Salman Sarwar of PML-N and Malik Iqbal of MMA who are also in the run but the neck to neck competition will be between Bokhari and Malik Hameed.
Despite the participation of several candidates, a tough competition is likely among four candidates who are Qazi Ahmed Akbar of PTI, Jahangir Khanzada of PML-N, Ahmed Taj Khanzada of PPP and Changez Khan of MMA.
It is relevant to mention that so far, Khan and Taj Khanzada have gained a strong position during the election campaign. Changez Khan is said to be the right-hand man of Major Sadiq and it is estimated that he will give a tough time in the polls.
Also, Taj Khanzda being the son of the Khanzada family chief Taj Khanzada and contesting for the very first time on a PPP party ticket is in a strong position.
There is strong competition among three candidates of PP-III. These candidates include Major Sadiq, Haji Riaz Balrah of PPP and Advocate Asif Ali Malik who is a relative of Chaudry Nisar Ali Khan. So far, Major Sadiq has gained a strong position in the area and it is likely that he will win the provincial assembly seat from here.
Moreover, this is Major Sadiq’s native constituency.
A healthy competition among four candidates is expected in PP-4 of Attock district. PPP has given party ticket to an old party worker Haji Akhtar to contest the election, while Chaudry Sher Ali, farmer provincial minister is ticket holder of PML-N, and Col. retd. Anwar is from PTI and Amanat Rawal has party ticket of TLY to give tough time to other competitors in the polls. At present, the position of TLY candidate, who is said very close to Major retd Tahir Saddiq, is strong. However, if Chaudry Sher Ali of PML-N succeeds in convincing angry groups and families who were with him in elections 2013 and senior leadership of PML-N pay visit in the area then he can win the seat but with a close margin.
Though there is a competition to win PP-5 seat among the candidates, actual competition on 5th July 2018 is expected among an independent candidate, PML-N candidate and PTI’s candidate. PML-N has awarded ticket to Sardar Bahadur and Jamshaid Altaf has PTI’s ticket while Pir Abbas Mohiuddin is participating in the election as independent candidate. All the candidates are currently engaged to acquire consent/approval of major groups and biradaries. So far, an independent candidate has gained major success in getting the approval of main groups/panels and biradaries of this constituency.
Independent candidate Pir Abbas Mohiuddin is giving a tough time to his rivals and there are greater chances of his success in next elections. Pir Abbas Mohiuddin is the son of farmer parliamentarian Pir Safiuddin who is a close relative of former prime minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and the top man/’Gaddi Nasheen’ of the shrine of Makhad Sharif.
PPP candidate for NA-56 Sardar Saleem Haider is fully supporting the independent candidate and in return getting the vote bank of Pir Abbas Mohiuddin.
It is important to note here that wrong party ticket distribution by PTI might result in losing the PP-5 seat as party ticket holder Jamshaid Altaf belongs to Hassan Abdal and has no deep roots, linkages or vote bank in the area.