Vehari’s politics have long been revolving around landowning families. Who stands where?

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Mubashir Majid

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Vehari’s politics have long been revolving around landowning families. Who stands where?

Mubashir Majid

loop

Read In Urdu

In the Vehari district, elections are scheduled for next month, covering four seats in the National Assembly and eight in the Punjab Assembly. While candidates are currently engaged in political alliances and manoeuvring, the traditional colour of the election campaign has not yet emerged.

In the elections held last year, candidates from the Muslim League-N and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf secured two national constituencies each in this district.

The political landscape in this region has traditionally been dominated by prominent landowning families, including the Daultana, Khichi, Manis, Bhabha, Khakwani, Jat, Arain, Syed, Chohan, Bhatti, and Dogar families.

According to the Election Commission, the total population of Vehari district is 34 lakh, 30 thousand and 421. The registered voters are 19 lakh 29 thousand and 211, including eight lakh 81 thousand and 137 women and 10 lakh 48 thousand and 74 male voters.

According to the Election Commission, the first national constituency of Vehari is NA-156, encompassing the city of Main Burewala and its surrounding rural areas in this tehsil.

Over here, Chaudhry Nazir Arain from PML-N, Aisha Nazir Jat representing PTI, and Kamran Yousaf Ghuman of PPP are the contenders.

Qari Shaheen from Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and Dr Muhammad Shahbaz from TLP are also participating.

In the previous election, Chaudhry Faqir Hussain Arain of PML-N was victorious in this constituency, while Aisha Nazir contested as an independent candidate and secured the second position.


Vehari New Constituencies 2023

The 2018 National Assembly constituency NA-162, Vehari 1 is now NA-156, Vehari 1
This constituency encompasses both urban and rural areas of Burewala Tehsil, including Qasba Gogu Mandi and Sheikh Fazil. The Umar Pur Qanungo Halqa (QH) constituency's Chak numbers 267 EB, 283 EB, 285 EB, and 287 EB Patwari Circles have been included in the new delimitations. Meanwhile, Burewala QH Constituency 2 has been excluded from this constituency.

The 2018 National Assembly constituency NA-163 Vehari 2 is now NA-157 Vehari 2
This is a rural constituency of Burewala Tehsil, including some villages of Vehari Tehsil. For the 2024 elections, there have been some ordinary changes in this constituency. In the new delimitations, Burewala QH constituency 2 has been included in this constituency, while Umar Pur QH constituency's Chak numbers 267 EB, 283 AB, 285 EB, and 287 EB Patwari Circles, and 18 WB Patwari Circles of Kasam Sar QH Tehsil, Vehari Tehsil, have been excluded.

The 2018 National Assembly constituency NA-164 Vehari 3 is now NA-158 Vehari 3
This is an urban and rural constituency of Vehari, including Mailsi Tehsil, Metro QH constituency and Qasba Kasmasar's 18 WB Patwari Circles. However, the 7 R (Gad Morr) QH constituency of Mailsi Tehsil has been excluded from this constituency in the new delimitations.

The 2018 National Assembly constituency NA-165 Vehari 4 is now NA-159 Vehari 4
This is a complete constituency of Mailsi Tehsil. In this constituency, the Qasbas of Jalla Jeem, Sultanpur, and Tibba Sultan are included, excluding the 7 R (Gad Morr) QH constituency of Mailsi Tehsil and including the Metro QH constituency of the same Tehsil in the new delimitations.


The Arain family dominates this constituency, primarily supporting Chaudhry Nazir Arain, while the Jat and Langrial families are backing Aisha Nazir.

This time, the final contest on this seat will be between Chaudhry Nazir and Aisha Nazir Jat.

NA-157 encompasses several chak of Burewala and certain areas of Vehari, like Laddan and Machhival. The candidates for this constituency include Sajid Mehdi Saleem, a former MNA from PML-N, Ijaz Bandaysha, a former MPA from PTI, and former federal minister Isahq Khan Khakwani from Istehkam Pakistan Party.

Given the inclusion of numerous villages in this national constituency, local alliances play a crucial role. Until recently, discussions for seat adjustments were underway between PML-N and IPP. However, PML-N has now officially awarded the ticket to Syed Sajid Mehdi.

Sajid Mehdi is a strong candidate in this constituency, but a tough competition is expected.

NA-158 covers Vehari city and its adjacent areas. Contesting in this constituency are Tehmina Daultana from PML-N, Rana Sagheer Gudo from Q League, former MPA Tahir Iqbal Chaudhry from PTI and Aftab Khan Kehchi. Jamaat-e-Islami has nominated Javed Hussain Shah for this seat.

Tehmina Daultana, a prominent PML-N's central leadership figure, won and became an MNA in 2008. However, she faced defeats in the elections of 2002 and the two recent polls.

Tehmina Daultana is recognised for her contributions to significant developmental projects.

On the other hand, Tahir Iqbal dedicates considerable time to the constituency, actively addressing the people's concerns and issues. If both receive party nominations, it could set the stage for a competition.

PTI's second candidate, Aftab Khan Kehchi, is the son of the late Mumtaz Khan Kehchi, who previously served as the elected Chairman of the district council until his recent passing. The Kehchi family holds a longstanding political legacy in the region.

This time, there appears to be a focal point of disagreement within the PML-N regarding the ticket for this constituency. In the previous general elections, Tehmina Daultana of the PML-N faced defeat here. However, PML-N's Mian Saqib Khurshid won the provincial seat from this constituency.

For the second seat, Naeem Bhabha refused the PML-N ticket at the last moment, and PTI's Rai Zahoor Ahmed Kharral won that seat.

This time, Tehmina Daultana initially wanted her son, Imran Daultana, to contest this national seat. However, Saqib Khurshid was also vying for the PML-N ticket for this constituency. Tehmina Daultana did not want Saqib Khurshid to get the ticket, so she decided to contest the election herself.

The City President of the PML-N, Sheikh Abdul Rahman, says that Tehmina Daultana remained with the party under all circumstances. He believes her decision to contest the election is correct, and he is confident she’ll win.

However, Chaudhry Saeed Akhtar, the PML-N president for the PP-233 constituency, disagrees with his city president. He believes that Mian Saqib is a senior politician and has always been successful. He thinks Saqib Khurshid should have been given the party ticket for the national seat.

NA-159, which includes the areas of Mailsi city, Jalla jeem, and Tibba Sultanpur, is a high-voltage constituency where Aurangzaib Kehchi of PTI, PML-N's Saeed Ahmed Manais, and PPP's Mahmood Hayat Khan Tochi are the contestants.

Former MNA Aurangzaib Kehchi, the son of five-time elected MPA Dilawar Khan Kehchi and the nephew of former district nazim Mumtaz Kehchi, holds a significant vote bank in this constituency.

Saeed Ahmed Manees is a former Speaker of the Punjab Assembly who has been elected several times as a member of the Provincial Assembly and the National Assembly.

Meanwhile, Mahmood Hayat Khan has also previously served as an MNA and holds particular importance in this constituency. Undoubtedly, the competition for this seat will be intense.

District Vehari has eight provincial constituencies, where, in the last elections, PML-N and PTI both won four seats.

In PP-229, Yusuf Kasselya of PML-N, who won the previous election, is again the party's candidate. From PTI, Khalid Mahmood Chohan and Omar Nazir Jat, the son of Nazir Jat, are the contestants. Chaudhry Yusuf Kasselya and the Arain family also secure votes from the Jat community in this constituency.

In this constituency, whether PTI issues a ticket to Khalid Mahmood Chohan or Omar Nazir, formidable competition is expected in both scenarios.

In PP-231, which includes Burewala city, former MPA Khalid Mahmood Dogar is the PML-N candidate, while PTI has Sardar Khalid Nisar Dogar, Irshad Ahmed Arain, and Akbar Ali Bhatti as strong contenders. All three are formidable candidates.

There are internal conflicts within the PML-N in this constituency, particularly between the former Chairman Baldia, Chaudhry Ashiq Arain and Sardar Khalid Dogar. If Chaudhry Ashiq runs as an independent candidate, he could potentially influence the Arain family's PML-N votes, benefiting PTI.

TLP's Sardar Zulfiqar Dogar is a candidate in the same constituency, and his presence may harm the PML-N.

Additionally, Haji Abdul Hameed Bhatti, a former MPA from PPP, is a candidate, and he might secure significant votes from the Bhatti family.

In PP-232, Malik Nousher Langrial is the candidate for PML-N, while Bilal Akbar Bhatti is contesting independently, potentially affecting the PML-N's prospects. Jamaat-e-Islami has fielded its youth leader, Ali Waqas Hanjra, in this constituency.

The candidates are Tahir Anwar Wahla from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and former MPA Ijaz Sultan Bandysha. Saima Noreen and Abdul Wahid Grewal have also submitted their nomination papers. If Bandysha secures the ticket, it will lead to significant competition.

In PP-230, the constituency extends from Sahiuka to Ludden.

In this area, Irfan Aqeel Daultana, the son of Tehmina Daultana and a former MPA, is the candidate for PML-N. Imran Khan Saldhira from Q League, Asghar Ali Jutt from PPP, Salman Yousaf Ghuman from the Pakistan People's Party, Imran Ali from Jamaat-e-Islami, and Malik Zulfiqar Awan from Kisan Ittehad are also candidates.

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From Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Afzal Kareem Beto, Shahid Mehdi Naseem, and Salman Mehdi, the son of Shahid Mehdi, will compete. Additionally, one of the contenders from the Jutt family, Omar Nazir, will also be in the competition. This area is traditionally associated with the Daultana family, and Tehmina Daultana's influence might play a significant role in their favor.

Shahid Mehdi Naseem, Imran Khan Saldira, and Salman Yousaf Ghuman also hold a significant vote bank in this constituency.

In PP-233, Mian Saqib Khurshid is the candidate for PML-N, a former MPA. From Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), former MPA Rai Zahoor Kharral will enter the field, while Tahir Anwar Wahla is also present.

Rai Zahoor Ahmad Kharral is a former MPA, whereas Mian Saqib Khurshid has been elected as a member of the Provincial Assembly four times and twice as the Tehsil Nazim.

In this constituency, candidates from Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan People's Party, Tehreek-e-Labbaik, Istehkam Pakistan Party, and Awami Tehreek are also contesting. However, the final race is expected to be between PML-N and PTI.
In PP-234, Naeem Akhtar Bhabha from the Muslim League-N and Zahid Iqbal Chaudhry from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, along with Salman Khan Bhabha from the People's Party, are in the competition. Additionally, Mohammad Khan Kehchi is also participating as an independent candidate.

There is an expectation of tough competition in this constituency between Naeem Akhtar Bhabha, Zahid Iqbal Chaudhry, and Mohammad Khan Kehchi.

From PP-235, prominent candidates include Khaliq Nawaz Arain from PML-N, former provincial minister Jehanzeb Khan Kehchi from PTI, and Colonel Naeem Khan from the Pakistan Peoples Party. A fierce competition between PML-N and PTI is expected in this constituency.

In the last provincial constituency of Vehari, PP-236, Ali Raza Khakwani from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Asif Saeed Manees from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and Nawab Ali Khan Khakwani from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) are the contenders.

All three candidates in this constituency are influential landowners and educated young politicians. A tough competition between PML-N and PTI in this area is possible.

Published on 19 Jan 2024

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