Maneuvering is at its peak and the dears of politicians are humming with activity as the two major contenders — Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf square off for the battle to capture the provincial assembly constituency of Hassanabdal, PP-3 (Attock-III) for the upcoming 2018 general election. Provincial assembly constituency PP-3 (Attock-III) comprising of Hazro and some rural areas of tehsil Hassanabdal in 2013 general elections, Shahwaiz Khan of PML-N clinched 40897 votes by beating Malik Jamshaid Altaf of Major TahirSadiq group who succeeded to get 39622 votes.
There is one to one contest expected between political heavyweight former districtNazim Major (rted) TahirSadiq of PTI and Asif Ali Malik – the nephew of Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan who is contesting polls from PML-N platform. As the electioneering entered in to final round and the mist clears after finalization of the list of aspirant candidates by the election commission of Pakistan, all candidates especially who belong to PTI and PML-N are warming up to a hectic, dawn to dusk electioneering campaign to woo people wielding some influence at local level as hot weather fails to dictating their drive. It has been observed that the aspirant candidates canvassing are by and large limited to personal indoor meetings during the day but as the sun sets, candidates are out in the open to address public meetings.
Simultaneously, coordinators and supporters are busy in assigning duties for the election campaign. The directions have urgency about them as a coordinator works against time to promote their respective candidate. It has observed the banners, portraits and flexes are hoisted in a good number in the streets, bazars, roads and public places. According to political pundits, though JI, PPP, TLP, MMA and independent candidates will also be contesting the elections, however according to them the real contest will be between the PTI and PML-N. .There is no gainsaying that Major (retd) TahirSadiq has the potential of pulling crowds. He presently enjoys a strong political position and has a good following among major families in the area.The political landscape of the constituency has completely changed after Mr Sadiq joined the bandwagon of the PTI. His popularity has also increased after he joined the PTI.
It is observed that although 2013 general election from this constituency was won by PML-N but for up coming elections change is in the air as observed by masses have had a bad experience rule by the Sharif family over the last three decades — the memories of the last five-year stint in Punjab as well as in the federal government fresh in the voters’ minds, besides failure of former N MPA from area Shahwaiz Khan who failed to deliver during his five years tenure up to the expectation of the masses besides entry of political heavyweight former district Nazim Major (retd) Tahir Sadiq in the political arena with his intact vote bank with massive support of PTI voters. With his personal impressive track record in the area besides deep-rooted contacts with baradari heads and local influential having vast vote banks, analysts believe that Mr Sadiq is in a strong position for the July 25 poll in provincial assembly constituency of Hassanabdal, particularly because the campaign of his major political arrivals in the constituency have been marred by internal rifts.
The PTI candidates say they are out to exploit their arch-rival’s cracks in party lines as their rivals have developed differences over the award of the party ticket. The PML-N candidate Asif Ali Malik on the other hand is banking on the political clout created over last five years of rule and personal appeal and accusing Imran Khan of fielding lotas (turncoats) in the constituency .Hamid Khan – a political observer while talking to this reporter said that the constituency of Hassanabdal is no more a stronghold of the PML-N. He says the PML-N members of the assemblies had failed utterly to serve the masses and the people were now compelled to opt for Imran Khan and his party. Shahid Khan, a senior journalist says the PML-N representatives’ ‘hallmark performance’ can be summed up by a look around at city. “There are piles of garbage on city roads,” he tells Dawn. “The air is polluted by the burning of garbage. The health and education facilities are inadequate and the people are without safe drinking water.
This is debilitating the people physically and economically.” These are not the best of times for the PML-N, acknowledged some of those who were asked to comment on the election campaign so far. According to the political observers , all is not ideal in the PML-N camp. The party is faced with internal rift. Former MPA ShahwaizKhan distances himself with electioneering drive of his party in the area and even not attended single public meeting or arranged election driveafter award of the party ticket toAsif Ali Malik. As the final run for the polls has whistled and the caretaker government is eager to ensure that the election code of conduct is not violated. The district returning officer as well as the deputy commissioner and assistant commissioner have explained to all parties and candidates the code of conduct is to be strictly adhered to. “Follow the code of conduct, or the law will take its course,” a clear warning was issued along with an assurance that every genuine complaint will be addressed.