A snapshot of key contests in election

A snapshot of key contests in election


A snapshot of key contests in election

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By Ahad Khan 

The country is going to the polls today (Thursday) for the much-needed democratic transition through the general election. 

According to the ECP, around 18,000 hopefuls are in the electoral ring. It goes without saying that denial of contest to the PTI founder – one of the staunchest advocates of transparent elections – makes the whole endeavour somewhat lackadaisical.

Still, there are few contests to look out for. Let's delve into the interesting contests of political heavyweights in the run from various constituencies.

A ‘lucky’ PML-N supremo, Nawaz Sharif, is eyeing the coveted PM office once again by contesting from two National Assembly seats. One is NA-130 Lahore where an iron-willed PTI leader Dr Yasmin Rashid is expected to give him a run for his ‘vote’.

NA-15 Mansehra is the other 'family' constituency where he is up against underdog of PPP Zar Gul Khan and JUI-F’s Mufti Kifayatullah.

PTI's new chief, Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, who is also a counsel for the party founder, is contesting from his native constituency, Buner-10. Bakht Jehan Khan of JI and Abdur Rauf of ANP are also competing against him here.

PPP head Asif Ali Zardari also chose to run for election from his native NA-207, Nawabshah seat where PTI's runner-up in 2018 election, Sher Muhammad Rind, is trying his luck as well.

Bhutto scion Bilawal has thrown his hat in the electoral ring from three constituencies which include traditional Bhuttos' seat NA-194 Larkana where Rashid Mahmood Soomro of JUI-F is also contesting, NA-196 Qambar Shahdad Kot where he has no tough competitors to challenge him and NA-127, Lahore where another firebrand candidate of PML-N, Atta Tarar, and and an 'away from the scene' PTI-backed Zaheer Abbas Khokhar are also trying their luck.

PML-N's ‘flexible’ president Shehbaz Sharif is running from NA-123, Lahore and NA-132, Kasur where he has a face-off with PTI-backed Afzaal Azeem Pahat, JI old guard Liaquat Baloch and Sardar Muhammad Hussain Dogar.

PML-N's second generation leader and shrewd political operator, Hamza Shehbaz is vying for NA-118 seat where an incarcerated PTI lady Aliya Hamza is testing her public support as well.

Social media savvy chief organiser Maryam Nawaz is jumping through hoops in NA-119 where Shehzad Farooq of PTI is said to be posing a serious challenge to her.

JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman has rolled up his sleeves to run for NA-265 Pishin where a generous PkMAP chief Mahmood Achakzai has withdrawn in his favour. The Maulana is also contesting polls from his home seat of NA-44, Dera Ismail Khan where PTI's stout leader Ali Amin Gandapur is facing him.

It is worth remembering that the Maulana lost this seat in the last election against Ali Amin Gandapur.

Sardar Akhtar Mengal, chief of BNP-M, is running for NA-256, Khuzdar and NA-264, Quetta. PPP newbie Jamal Raisani is also in the field against him in NA-264.

Docile MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui is in a gladiatorial contest with PTI's social media wizard Dr Arslan Khalid in NA-248, Karachi.

Affluent IPP chief is throwing his bountiful resources in two South Punjab constituencies. NA-149 Multan where he is faced with a seemingly insurmountable barrier in the shape of PTI's Malik Amir Dogar.

And NA-155 is Tareen's home where PML-N leader Siddique Baloch is waiting in the wings to secure this seat.

IPP president Aleem Khan has started his campaign from where the electoral boundary of Lahore starts, i.e NA-117. The PTI has fielded Ali Ijaz in this constituency against him.

Defected from PTI, PTI-P head Pervaiz Khattak is eyeing NA-33, Nowshera seat where PTI's strong candidate Syed Ahad Shah is upping the ante against him.

Aimal Wali Khan, who now calls the shots of a left-leaning ANP, is contesting from his ancestral seat of NA-25, Charsadda where PTI's Fazal Muhammad Khan and Maulana Gohar of JUI-F are facing him.

JI leader Sirajul Haq is vying for NA seat from his mountainous seat of NA-6, Lower Dir. PTI-backed Muhammad Bashir Khan and PPP's Muhammad Hanif Khan are his competitors here.