pakistan
Wednesday Jul 06 2022
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By-poll in PP-7 Rawalpindi: Ex-spymaster joins PTI’s campaign trail

PTIs Lieutenant Colonel Shabbir Awan (L) and PML-Ns Raja Sagheer Ahmed. — Photos by author
PTI's Lieutenant Colonel Shabbir Awan (L) and PML-N's Raja Sagheer Ahmed. — Photos by author

In Pakistan's most politically important province, the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) is hoping to maintain its narrow control. While the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) is aiming to wrest the province away from the ruling party.

Who could tip the balance in their favour?

In the run-up to the by-polls, Geo.tv provides an in-depth look into each constituency:

A profile of the constituency

  • Total voters: 335,295
  • Male voters: 171,464
  • Female voters: 163,831

PP-7 falls under the constituency NA-57, from where PTI’s Sadaqat Ali Abbasi is MNA.

2018 winner: In 2018, the provincial constituency was won by Raja Sagheer Ahmed, who won as an independent and later joined the PTI on the insistence of businessman Jahangir Khan Tareen.

This year, Sagheer was disqualified by the Election Commission of Pakistan for voting against his party in the election for chief minister in Punjab.

Contesting candidates

The PML-N has allotted the ticket to Raja Sagheer Ahmed.

While PTI has fielded Lt. Col. Shabbir Awan.

Who could win?

PML-N’s Raja Sagheer is confident of a win.

There are several factors that give him a competitive advantage. One, voters in this rural constituency vote largely on the basis of biradari (clan) and Sagheer belongs to an influential clan. Two, the PML-N has a large vote bank in PP-7. 

Their candidate in 2018, who is not contesting this time, lost to Sagheer but polled over 42,000 votes. Three, PPP recently withdrew its candidate in favour of Sagheer, which means PPP’s vote will also go to him. Four, voters say he has done a lot for the constituency, in terms of development, since he was elected MPA.

But voters are also complaining about rising inflation. One factor that could go against the PML-N on July 17.

Sagheer Ahmed’s father and brother were former members of the district council.

PTI’s Shabbir Awan began his political career with the PPP in 2008 and was elected MPA the same year. He joined the PTI in 2011.

Campaigning for Awan is the former director-general of the intelligence agency, Zaheer-ul-Islam, who has held a few rallies in support of Awan. PTI’s MNA Sadaqat Ali Abbasi has also been visiting the constituency to convince voters to vote for PTI.

Election activity

A few corner meetings have been held. Otherwise, the election campaign so far has been very low profile.

Constituency problems:

It is a rural area, which is why it suffers from a lack of clean drinking water and broken roads.