Attock district political landscape: Current positions of major players remain undefined

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Nadeem Hayder

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Attock district political landscape: Current positions of major players remain undefined

Nadeem Hayder

loop

Read In Urdu

In the Attock district, elections will be held for two National Assembly seats and five Provincial Assembly seats. In the 2018 general elections, PTI won two National Assembly and four Provincial Assembly seats here, but in the by-elections, they lost one National and one Provincial Assembly seat.

This district's total number of registered voters is 13 lakh 49 thousand and 40, including six lakh 97 thousand and 362 male voters and six lakh 51 thousand and 678 female voters.

Clans and alliances have always been significant in Attock's politics. The Sheikh, Khattar, Syed, Bangash, Wardag, Arain, Mughal, Qureshi, Kashmiri, Awan (Malik), Pathan, and Bhatti clans are influential here. However, the votes are usually divided due to multiple candidates often emerging from the same clan.

NA-49 comprises the Tehsil of Attock and the Hazro and Hassan Abdal areas. Sheikh Aftab Ahmed represents the PML-N, Khurram Shahzad represents the PPP, Major (Retired) Tahir Sadiq represents the PTI, and Malik Amin Aslam is an independent candidate.

Sheikh Aftab Ahmed of the Muslim League-N has been elected five times as a member of the National Assembly and once as a member of the Provincial Assembly from this constituency. However, in the previous election, he faced defeat against Tahir Sadiq.

On the other hand, Malik Amin Aslam has served as the Minister of State for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

Tahir Sadiq is a former district Nazim of Attock who won the last election with a significant majority from two national and one provincial constituency in Attock. Besides his Khattar tribe, he has a solid support base across the district, and he also leads a group known as the Major Group, which serves as a robust vote bank for him.

Malik Amin Aslam is a former Minister of State from PTI. His family holds significant influence in the constituency, and his father, Malik Islam, also strongly impacted the area.

In this seat, the PPP candidate Khurram Shahzad is contesting for the first time, while candidates from Jamaat-e-Islami, JUI, and Tehreek-e-Labbaik are also in the field.

Local political analysts, including Mian Atif, who closely follow local politics, suggest an anticipated tough competition between Sheikh Aftab and Tahir Sadiq in this constituency. However, PTI leaders have been notably absent from public view after the May 9 incident. Now, it remains to be seen how effective their absence will be for the PML-N or any other candidate in the upcoming election campaign.

Former MNA Tahir Sadiq, his daughter Iman Tahir, wife Naz Tahir, and son Zain Ul-Ilahi have submitted nomination papers in various constituencies. However, as of now, no one besides Mrs Naz Tahir has come into the spotlight.

NA-50 Attock 2 consists of Pindi Gheb, Jand, Fateh Jang, and Hasan Abdal. Tahir Sadiq secured a victory in this constituency in the previous general elections. However, in the by-elections, Malik Suhail Kamrial from PML-N emerged as the winner from here.

Now, 20 candidates are participating in the race for this constituency. The notable contenders include Malik Suhail Kamrial from PML-N, Independent candidate Imaan Tahir, TLP President Saad Rizvi, and former federal minister of PPP Sardar Salim Haider.

In the 2018 elections, TLP secured over 62,000 votes from this constituency and stood in third place, while the PPP candidate, Sardar Salim Haider, was in fourth place.

Social worker Riaz-ud-Din Awan from Pindi Gheb mentions that after the 9th of May, Imaan Tahir and her family have not been visible to the public. If this situation continues until February 8th, it could benefit Malik Sahil Kamriyal and Sardar Salim Haider Khan.

He says that TLP has also established its influence in this area, and its central president, Saad Rizvi, is contesting elections here. Looking at the overall situation, there will be fierce competition for this seat, and predicting the victory of any candidate is difficult.

The provincial constituencies PP-1, PP-2, and PP-3 fall under the NA-49 constituency, while the national constituencies NA-50 include PP-4 and PP-5.

The first provincial constituency in Punjab, PP-1, consists of the Tehsil Hazro and the area of Kamra Cantt. In this constituency, 17 candidates have entered the electoral arena, including former MPA of PML-N Jahangir Khanzada and former PTI ticket holder Qazi Ahmed Akbar, considered a frontrunner.

Naseer Khan, a resident of Hazro, mentions that after the terrorist attack resulting in the tragic death of former provincial interior minister Shuja Khanzada, Jahangir Khanzada was elected from this constituency. He won the previous election as well. However, PTI's Qazi Ahmed Akbar also presented an intense competition.

He says that although Ahmed Akbar has not been visible among the people after May 8, the competition between Jahangir Khanzada and Justice Ahmed Akbar will be intense. Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, and an independent candidate are also expected to secure many votes.

PP-2 comprises areas of Tehsil Hassan Abdal and Fateh Jang. Major Tahir Sadiq defeated PML-N's Asif Ali Khan in the last general elections in this constituency. However, in the by-election, PML-N's Sardar Aftab Khan emerged victorious.

In this constituency, prominent candidates include Sardar Zulfiqar Hayat Khan from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Sardar Iftikhar Ahmed Khan from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Sardar Muhammad Ali Khan (Independent), and Naz Tahir, the wife of Major Tahir Sadiq, who was a former PTI ticket holder.

In this constituency, the most influential families include the Maliks, Awans, Khans, Chaudhrys, Sardars, Tahirs, Khelis, and Khattars, while all four candidates have affiliations with the Khattar family. Intense competition is expected in this seat.

The PPP candidate, Sardar Zulfiqar Hayat, is a member of the old political family of Attock and the grandson of the renowned Pakistani politician Sardar Shaukat Hayat. This family holds significant influence in the region, and the Major Group is a powerful voting bloc. Similarly, there is party support from Sardar Iftikhar and Sardar Muhammad Ali.

Social worker and journalist Chaudhry Waqar suggests that with the complete backing of Sardar Muhammad Ali can win with the full support of the Major Group and Tahir Kheli Group. If Tahir Sadiq's wife remains present in the election until the end, it will benefit both PPP and PML-N.

Resident Naeem, from Hasan Abdal, states that Sardar Zulfiqar Hayat Khan's election campaign and extensive work are visible, while Sardar Iftikhar has not been prominently seen again after becoming a member of the provincial assembly in the by-elections.

In PP-3, the population includes areas from Attock, covering the populations of Hasan Abdal and Kamra Cantt. In the 2018 general elections, PTI's Syed Yawar Abbas Bukhari was elected from here, while independent candidate Malik Hamid Akbar secured the second position, and Sheikh Aftab's son Salman Sarwar was in the third position from PML-N.

Malik Hamid Akbar Khan represents PML-N in this constituency, while PTI supports Ijaz Hussain Bukhari.

Tahir Sadiq's son, Zain Ilahi, is also a candidate. Besides, candidates from PPP, TLP, and other parties are also in the field.

Zain Ilahi has the support of the Tahir Group in this constituency. If both Zain Ilahi and Ijaz Bukhari remain in the election until the end, it would benefit Malik Hamid Akbar Khan of PML-N.

In this constituency, Zain Ilahi has the support of the Major Tahir Group. If both Zain Ilahi  and Ijaz Bukhari remain in the election until the end, it would benefit Malik Hamid Akbar Khan of the PML-N.

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The PP-4 constituency includes areas from Tehsil Fateh Jang and Pindi Gheb. Here, the social structure and political dynamics do not differ significantly from the other constituencies in Attock.

PTI's Colonel Muhammad Anwar won this constituency in the previous elections, defeating Chaudhry Sher Ali.

Meanwhile, TLP's Malik Amanat Raoult secured the third position, and Malik Riyaasat Chughtai was in the fourth position.

The candidates in this constituency include PML-N's Chaudhry Sher Ali, PPP's Malik Riyasat Sadriyal, PTI's Sardar Shah Nawaz Azad, and TLP's Malik Amanat Khan Rawal. Colonel Anwar is not contesting in this election. A tough competition is expected here.

In PP-5, which includes some areas of Jand and Pindi Gheb tehsils, PTI's Malik Jamshed Altaf won in the last election, while PML-N's Malik Bahadur secured the second position, and TLP's Ahsan Mahmood Gillani stood in third place.

Now, former MPA Malik Jamshed Altaf Azad is the independent candidate, Malik Eitabar Khan is representing PML-N, Atif Hussain Gillani is the candidate for TLP, and Shaheer Haider Malik is the candidate for Pakistan Nazriati Party in this constituency.

A resident of Pindi Gheb, Asif, says that all four candidates here are connected to the influential families of Malik, Syed, and Awan, who also receive support from political parties and voters of their respective communities. It seems that the final race in this constituency will be between the candidates of the PML-N, PTI, independent candidates, and TLP.

Published on 23 Jan 2024

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