With the new constituency delimitations, District Kasur has regained a provincial seat that had ended a decade ago. This has sparked discussions and criticism over the new electoral boundaries in the political circles.
Initially, it seemed that the local political leaders closely monitored even minor changes in the constituencies, anticipating that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) might face objections over even minor alterations. However, no party in the district has officially raised any objections on the record regarding the new boundaries.
In the 2013 general elections, Qasur district had four members elected to the National Assembly and ten elected to the Provincial Assembly. However, in the previous elections, one provincial assembly seat was reduced. Now, with the new delimitations, there are ten provincial assembly seats again while the four national assembly seats remain unchanged.
In 2018, the National Assembly constituencies in this area were numbered from NA-137 to NA-140. Now, the numbers start from NA-131 and end at NA-134. There haven’t been any major changes in these national constituencies.
In the previous election, the provincial constituencies in Kasur ranged from PP-174 to PP-182. Now, the constituency numbers in this area range from PP-175 to PP-184.
With minor changes, all these constituencies are the same as in 2013. In the recent delimitation, none of the constituencies in the district were altered, but some minor adjustments were made in various constituencies.
In the new constituencies, the majority of the population were removed from PP-180, PP-177, and PP-178 and included in other constituencies.
The general belief is that the new constituency delimitation benefits the PML-N. However, the biggest advantage is seen to be for the former MPA of the PML-N, Nadeem Yaqoob Sethi.
Nadeem Yaqoob’s constituency, PP-175, was altered in the last general elections when it was merged with the Tehsil Kot Radha Kishan. This change included his ancestral area, Mustafabad, along with the Qasoor city. Thus, his vote bank was redistributed.
However, when he didn’t receive a ticket from the PML-N, he stood as an independent candidate and stayed out of the spotlight. Now, he is back, working on establishing his presence in the area.
There haven’t been significant changes in constituency PP-178, and traditional politicians from various parties remain active.
Former Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s special advisor, Malik Muhammad Ahmed Khan, is still unsatisfied with the constituency’s delimitation.
He is an expected candidate from PP-179 and had wanted to include Bhela Hathar, Garhay Wala, and Pakhoki Union Councils but couldn’t achieve it.
PP-180 was relatively larger, and the new constituency delimitation required a reduction in its population. As a result, three union councils, including Piyal Kalaan, Talondi, and Osmanwala, were removed from this constituency. While the populations of Allahabad and Gailun Hathar were included in this constituency.
The scattered areas in PP-180 have benefited the political family of Malik of the N-League. One young member of this family, Malik Mazhar Rashid, is now actively involved in this constituency. Until the final decision on the party ticket is made, he will run his election campaign against the N-League’s former MPA Ahsan Raza.
Hasan Akhtar Mokal’s son, Waqas Hasan Mokal, is also an expected candidate from the PML-Q for PP-180. He mentions that changes in constituency boundaries occur based on population proportions. Changes in union councils or a few villages shouldn’t significantly affect any political worker.
Chaudhry Manzoor, a central leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, expresses dissatisfaction with the new constituency delimitation. He mentions that no principles or planning were considered during the delimitation process, and if there were any, it was solely designed to benefit the PML-N.
He claims that the new delimitation has disrupted the electoral system. In his constituency, NA-132, four provincial assembly constituencies (PP-176 to PP-179) fall. This is clearly unjust, making it impossible to run an effective election campaign.
Haji Muhammad Ramzan, the expected candidate from the Jamaat-e-Islami, also agrees with Chaudhry Manzoor. He states that the recent delimitations were carried out without any rules or regulations, and the sole purpose is to benefit the PML-N.
He says that in PP-180 and PP-183, areas dominated by the Rana and Rajput families have been included to benefit a particular political dynasty. This dynasty is contesting elections for two national and three provincial seats in the district.
Jahangir Tareen voices concerns about reduced provincial seats in Lodhran's new constituencies
PTI Kasur leader Qaiser Ayub believes that the delimitations do not hold much significance because the votes will go to the party rather than individual personalities. However, in the district, the increase in the number of seats in provincial constituencies has resolved the conflict between two potential candidates from his party, Barrister Shahid Mahmood and Muhammad Hussain Duggar. Now, neither of them will contest as independent candidates.
While the internal competition among provincial candidates within a party for new constituencies may not make a significant difference, the presence of shared electoral campaigns in some National Assembly constituencies with three or four provincial constituencies can pose challenges for candidates. This means that candidates must coordinate their campaigns across multiple constituencies, which can be a bit more complicated.
Published on 8 Nov 2023