Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province and a major contributor of members to the national parliament, is crucial in determining the political course of the nation. The province is home to a distinct collection of electables and powerful organizations that have built their political domination not only via conventional party connections but also by building a solid support base based on their character, caste, families, or social initiatives.
Following the recent notification by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the election season has officially begun, and Punjab’s strong cast of “electables” and powerful individuals are now squarely in the political limelight. These people have a lot of political control in Pakistan’s electoral system and may influence election results.
It’s interesting to note that certain electables decide against supporting a political party before receiving party tickets. Instead, they postpone choosing their political affiliations until after winning elections. Political parties are feverishly recruiting these bright prospects in an effort to win their support as a result.
The political landscape of Punjab is lined with powerful families, clans, and people. The Mazaris, Khosas, Daraishaks, Legharis, Gopangs, Tochis, Gilanis, Buzdars, Qureshis, Abbasis, Cheemas, Chaudharys, Sharifs, Haraj, Tareens, Sehars, and many more are among the well-known families. These families’ names could be recognizable since throughout the previous 20 years, members of these families have held important government posts at both the provincial and federal levels, including prime ministerships and chief ministerships.
Dost Muhammad Mazari, a former deputy speaker of the Punjab Assembly, is running for office in Rajanpur. He is the grandson of the well-known Mir Balakh Sher Mazari and a member of the Mazari clan of Baloch descent. Mazari played a key role in the political unrest that erupted in the Punjab assembly last year as rival political groupings fought for power. These powerful families and tribes often engage in fierce electoral competition with one another for seats in the national, provincial, and upper house of parliament.
In the district of Dera Ghazi Khan, prominent individuals include Khwaja Muhammad Sheraz, Amjad Farooq Khosa, and others who are preparing for the 2018 elections, as well as Sardar Awais Ahmad Khan Laghari, the son of former president Farooq Leghari.
The electoral landscape in Layyah includes candidates who are ready to run for office, including Niaz Muhammad Jhakar, Sahibzada Faizul Hasan, Shahabdin Sehar, and Bahadur Khan Sehar.
Raza Rabbani, Sultan Hanjra, Dr. Sher Ali, Amir Talal Gopang, Nawabzada Iftikhar, and rising star Jamshed Dasti are among the Muzaffargarh hopefuls getting ready to run for office.
Heavyweight candidates like former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Amir Dogar, former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, Ali Muhammad Gilani, Sikandar Bosan, Javed Hashmi, and Javed Ali Shah will face off in the upcoming elections in Multan, a political hotbed in Punjab.
The political climate of Khanewal is still hazy. Leading candidates in this area who may run for office include Raza Hiraj, Iftikhar Nazeer, and members of the Daha family.
The election is expected to be an interesting one. Jehangir Tareen, the Chairman of the Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP), is a well-known contender. Tareen, who has a history of supporting several parties, now has a clear political position. In the next weeks, the situation will become more evident about his main adversary, Abdul Rahman Kanjo.
Saqib Khursheed, Asif Mian, and members of the Tochi and Khichi families are prospective competitors in Vehari.
Balighur Rehman, the governor of Punjab, Nawab Salahuddin, Riaz Hussain Pirzada, and Tariq Bashir Cheema are among the notable leaders who are running for office in Bahawalpur.
Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, a former federal industries minister and current PTI politician, is one of Rahim Yar Khan’s most prominent electables. Other notables include Javed Warriach and Makhdoom Ahmed. Rai Hasan Nawaz, Noman Langriyal, Rai Murtaza Kharal, Nadeem Kamran, and other political heavy hitters are from Sahiwal.
Punjab’s hive of political activity, Lahore, has seen changes to its political dynamics in recent years. The PML-N and the Sharif family long held sway in the city, but the PTI has emerged as a potential rival. Ayaz Sadiq, Shafqat Mehmood, Hammad Azhar, and other well-known politicians continue to play important roles in the politics of Lahore. The poll suggests that important figures in Faisalabad, including Rana Sanaullah, Raja Riaz, Abid Sher Ali, Farrukh Habib, and others, are preparing for election battle.
Similar to other regions of Punjab, Toba Tek Singh is seeing a renaissance of electable politics, with well-known individuals like Chaudhary Sarwar, Waqas Akram, Fakhar Imam, and others competing for political success. Party-aligned politicians in Sheikhupura are headed by Javed Latif, who is challenged by opponents like Munawar Zaki.
The powerful individuals Shaukat Basra, Irfan Bajwa, the politically savvy Lalika family, and other electables dominate the electoral scene in Bahawalnagar. Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Hanif Abbasi, Fayyazul Hassan Chohan, and other prominent candidates are running for office in Rawalpindi, where the political landscape is ready to change.
Many lawmakers have not yet declared their intention to vote in the next elections, although it is anticipated that they will do so in the next few days. These electables and influentials will play a critical role in deciding the outcome of the Elections 2024 as Punjab’s political landscape takes form.
As Pakistan’s political drama moves into a new stage, their influence, alliances, and election strategy will likely be widely studied. What are your views about it? comment below!