LAHORE - The upcoming local bodies’ elections in different cantonments of Punjab would prove to be a test case for the PML-N whose five sitting federal ministers and two MNAs have their constituencies in the jurisdiction of these areas.

The five federal ministers, whose performance would be in the spotlight during these elections, are: Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Khawaja Sa’ad Rafiq, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Skinder Hayat Bosan and Baleeghur Rehman. All of them are holding important portfolios in the federal cabinet.

Local bodies’ elections are going to be held on April 25 in six Punjab divisions at wards level. They include Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Sargodha, Lahore, Multan and Bahawalpur. Interestingly, PTI chief Imran Khan’s constituency-NA-56 also falls in the jurisdiction of one of the cantonment boards of Rawalpindi division.

The PTI, whose candidates ended up as the runner-ups in most of the cantonment areas in the last general elections, would also be facing a big challenge to establish the alleged manipulation of election results in these constituencies. Khawaja Asif’s constituency is among the four constituencies where the PTI had initially demanded re-election.

Barring three cantonment constituencies, the PPP-P has little following in these areas as per the results of 2013 elections.

The cantonment boards in Rawalpindi division spread over two National Assembly constituencies: NA-50 and NA-56. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi of PML-N won 2013 elections from NA-50 securing 134,439 votes. Shafqat Ali Abbasi of PTI was the runner-up with 47,210 votes, followed by Murtaza Satti of PPPP who got 45,203 votes. The PML-N candidate won by a big margin of 87,229 votes.

PTI chief Imran Khan emerged victorious from NA-56 as he grabbed 80,577 votes as against 67,221 of Hanif Abbassi of the PML-N. Raja Israr Abbasi of PPPP got only 4,091 votes less than the tally of JI candidate Raja Ahmad who secured 6,463.

From NA-66 (Sargodha), Ch Hamid Hameed, who stands disqualified now, defeated Barrister Abdul Mumtaz Kahloon of PTI by a wide margin of 96,789 votes. Hamid got 133,085 votes while Khaloon secured 36,296 votes. Tasnim Qureshi of PPP got 29,624 votes and was placed at third position.

From NA-97 (Gujranwala), Ch Muhammad Bashir Virk of PML-N grabbed 104,638 votes and was declared successful against Naeemur Rehman of PTI who got 31,436 votes. The margin of victory here remained 73,202 votes.

From NA-110 (Sialkot), Khawaja Muhammad Asif was the successful candidate with 924,848 votes. Muhammad Usman Dar of PTI secured 71,573 votes.

Hence, Kh Asif won by 21,375 votes. Firdous Aashiq of PPPP got only 2,203 votes even less than the votes of JI candidate Arshad Mehmood Baggu who obtained 6,365.

From NA-125 (Lahore), Kh Saad Rafique got 123,416 votes while Hamid Khan of PTI got 84,495. Here, the margin of victory was 38,921 votes. Navid Ch of PPP ended up with only 6,152 votes.

From NA-151, which falls in Multan cantonment, Federal Minister Skinder Hayat Bosan defeated Syed Abdul Qadir Gilani of PPPP by a margin of 38,856 votes as Bosan got 95,714 and Gilani secured 56,858 votes. Mian Salman Qureshi of PTI bagged third position with a count of 38,647.

In NA-185, spreading over areas falling in the Bahawalpur cantonment, Federal Minister Baleeghur Rehman got 88,379 votes as against 65,984 of BNAP candidate Farooq Azam Malik. PPP candidate Munawar Hayat Abbasi obtained only 6,105 votes. Margin of victory remained at 12,395 votes. The PTI had not fielded any candidate from this constituency.

It would be interesting to watch whether the same pattern of voting also prevails in the local bodies’ elections or there is some change to the benefit of the PTI, which seems to be the second biggest stakeholder in these elections.