ISRAR AHMED & ASIM QADEER RANA
RAWALPINDI - Dozens of candidates including heavyweights belonging to different political parties along with hundreds of supporters submitted their nomination papers to Returning Officers (ROs) at District Courts.
However, the residents and motorists faced troubles in various areas of cantonment owing to traffic jam on Saturday due to electioneering. The candidates were surrounded by tens of hundreds of charged supporters of all political parties were also present holding party flags, portraits of their beloved leaders. They also changed slogans in the favour of their leaders. Tight security arrangements were made by the law enforcers. According to data obtained from Deputy Election Commissioner (DEC), a total of 155 candidates have filed back their nomination forms to contest elections for 7 National Assembly and 14 Provincial Assembly seats. While ROs also issued 100 nomination papers to the aspirants of political parties.
For NA-48 and NA-49 Islamabad constituencies, 40 candidates have returned their nomination papers to the ROs whereas 15 got nomination forms to contest elections from Federal capital. Similarly, a number of candidates received and submitted back their nomination papers in Attock, Jhelum and Chakwal.
According to sources, PML-N leadership sitting in Lahore mulling over fielding the renowned lawyer and hero of judiciary restoration movement Ali Ahmed Kurd in NA-55 as its candidate, shocking many local leaders and supporters. Likewise, some insiders claimed that PML-N would filed some heavy weight candidate such as Mian Shahbaz Sharif to bag win from this important seat. Sources also revealed that the PML-N stalwart Chaudhry Tanveer Ali Khan, who is also part of 32-member parliamentary board, also refused the party President Nawaz Sharif’s offer to try his fate in any of three constituencies NA-54, NA-55 and NA-56. Chaudhry apprised Mian that he would remain always loyal with the party but would not contest elections.
On the other hand, Awami Muslim League (AML) President Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed also left Lal Haveli for Lahore on Saturday evening to submit his nomination papers in NA-123 Gawalmandi Lahore to contest election against Mian Nawaz Sharif. Sheikh is also scheduled to be addressed a public gathering in Gawalmandi. However, Sheikh had returned his nomination papers in NA-55.
PTI’s Sadaqat Ali Abbasi submitted nomination papers on behalf of its chief Imran Khan for NA-55 while Col (retired) Ajmal Sabir Raja for NA-52. PPP’s Zamurad Khan returned his nomination forms for NA-54, PML-Q Raja Muhammad Basharat for NA-52, N league’s Siddique and Ali Ahmed Kurd for NA-55, PTI Sadaqat Ali Abbasi for NA-56, Arif Abbasi for PP-13, Rahat Masood Qadoosi and Ch Asghar Ali for PP-14, Malik Mehboob Elahi for PP-10, PML-Q Hamid Nawaz Raja for PP-9, Raja Waheed Qasim for PP-5, N league’s Khaliq Hussain Bhatti for PP-13, Zia Ullah Shah for PP-11, Raja Basit Ali for PP-6, PPP’s Bilal Khokhar for PP-6, PML-N Anwar Abbasi for PP-14, Barrister Abid Waheed for PP-11 and 12, N league Sheikh Arslan for PP-13 and PPP Sajid Tanwali also filed his nomination papers for PP-13.
Ali Ahmed Kurd, after filing nomination papers, told media that he swore in God that he was not going to contest elections on someone’s nod but himself. He said that Pindities played a vital role in lawyers movement and hoped that the people would repeat this once again by voting for him. He said that he had only Rs 40,000 in his bank account which he would spend for traveling between Quetta and Islamabad. He said that he would solve public problems once reached in Assembly.
PML-N ticket aspirants Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Raja Ashfaq Sarwar while talking to journalists in District Courts cafeteria said that Nawaz Sharif was the ray of hope and prosperity for the country.
They claimed that PML-N would win general elections with heavy mandate. They said that the people were fed up with Zardari gang who looted national kitty with both hands. They said that the masses have become matured and would not accept the jugglers or sportsmen. “Rawalpindi is the castle of PML-N league,” they said, adding that masses loved Nawaz Sharif.
Meanwhile, two local leaders on Saturday submitted nomination papers from NA-48. Julius Salik, Convener World Minorities Alliance Former, former federal minister and former President Islamabad High Court Bar Association Ch M Ashraf Gujjar submitted nomination papers to contest for NA-48.
According to details, Chuadhry Muhammad Ashraf Gujjar is renowned lawyer and member, PML-N Central Core Committee Member and also member of PML N Sub-Committee on Corruption, Speedy Justice and Accountability. Julius Salik is minority leader and came into limelight of political stage in 1995 when residential plots were being allotted to members of Parliament under a parliamentary housing scheme and he refused to take a plot.
Salik is still living in a rented accommodation in the capital city. Salik portrays his story as one of “hope, courage and conviction.” Entering community service early in life, thus losing out on conventional education. Salik says his “life experiences is worth more than an PhD.” He has no regrets in not abiding by the accepted theories of education because he feels “the theories and practices of others would have contaminated” his freethinking.