Election 2018: A clash of political titans in Punjab
LAHORE: Punjab will be a real battlefield in the July 25 general elections where a tough contest is expected between two arch-rivals Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
Both the political parties have finalised most candidates for seats of the National Assembly and provincial assembly from the province.
A day earlier, the PML-N announced candidates for 112 out of the total 141 NA seats in Punjab.
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter is contesting her first election from Lahore’s NA-125 against PTI’s Dr Yasmeen Rashid who had given a tough time to the former premier in the 2013 elections and later to his wife in a by-election.
In another major contest, PML-N’s Khawaja Saad Rafique will contest on NA-131 Lahore against PTI chairman Imran Khan who has lost three elections in Lahore deemed as one of the former ruling party’s strongholds.
Rafique has not faced any defeat since 1997 in this constituency.
In the election of 2013, Imran faced off Ayaz Sadiq in Lahore’s NA-122 but lost after a tough contest.The PTI chief will face Obaidullah Shadi Khel of PML-N in NA-95 Mianwali constituency.
PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif is in the run for three National Assembly seats – NA-124, NA-132, and NA-191. He is also contesting the polls from three Punjab Assembly constituencies PP-146, PP-163, and PP-165.
In NA-132, the former Punjab chief minister will face off Mansha Sinndhu of PTI.
In a major contest, Hamza Shehbaz will contest election in NA-124 against Nauman Qaiser of PTI.
PML-N bigwig Khawaja Asif will contest on NA-73 seat in Sialkot against PTI leader Usman Dar who had taken the former to the Islamabad High Court for allegedly hiding his UAE work permit.
An IHC larger bench had disqualified the PML-N leader for life, but the Supreme Court resurrected his political career by setting aside his disqualification.
In NA-129 Lahore, PML-N leader Sardar Ayaz Sadiq will face off Abdul Aleem Khan of the PTI.
PML-N leader Pervaiz Malik will face off PTI’s Jamshed Iqbal Cheema in NA-127 Lahore. There were speculations that Maryam will contest from this constituency but later the parliamentary board fielded Malik.
PML-N leaders Daniyal Chaudhry and Hanif Abbasi will face Awami Muslim League’s Sheikh Rasheed in Rawalpindi’s NA-62 and NA-60 constituencies, respectively.
PML-N stalwart Ahsan Iqbal will contest from NA-78 Narowal against PTI’s Abrar-ul-Haq.
Former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Khurram Dastagir Khan are contesting the polls from NA-57 Muree and NA-81 Gujranwala, respectively. The PTI has not yet fielded any candidates against them.
Senior PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah will contest against PTI’s Nisar Jatt from NA-106 Faisalabad. Abid Sher Ali will contest the polls from NA-108 Faisalabad.