Not All Sewn Up In The Capital

Political experts believe that the PML-N will face an uphill battle in the federal capital, where urban voters are politically savvy while rural areas are not too far behind

Not All Sewn Up In The Capital

 TFT Correspondent

The federal capital of Islamabad may be the seat of national power in the country, but it has the smallest voice in the assembly. And while any party that sweeps it may not find the scales tipping in its favour, it does not mean it is not coveted.

Going into the February 8 elections, while most major parties have fielded candidates from the city, there are few heavyweights from any party contesting elections here. Hence, it does not appear that any party could bag all three seats, and a tough contest is expected across the capital territory.

The Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), a city with a population of 2.3 million, is divided into three constituents: NA-46, NA-47, and NA-48. As many as 119 candidates from major political parties and independents are set to contest these three constituencies.

Among prominent players contesting polls from the urban and rural areas include Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's (PML-N) Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry and Anjum Aqeel Khan, Istehkam-e-Pakistan (IPP) and PML-N's Raja Khurram Nawaz, PTI's Shoaib Shaheen and Sibtul Haider Bukhari, PPP's Imran Ashraf and former PPP leader Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar apart from prominent independents such as transgender candidate Nayyab Ali and working-class candidate Muhammad Iqbal Jahan of the Awami Workers Party.


In NA-46 — which comprises the western part of Islamabad comprising middle and lower middle-class residents and industries- some 44 candidates are contesting the polls. The PML-N has fielded Anjum Aqeel Khan, who will face stiff competition from the PTI-backed independent Amir Mughal and former prime minister and National Assembly speaker Raja Pervez Ahsraf's brother, Raja Imran Ashraf — backed by the PPP. 

Anjum is relatively weak in this constituency due to internal rifts in the party over this constituency and the strength of the PTI, which had seen Asad Umar win the elections with 56,945 votes.

Former MNA and the senior leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami Mian Muhammad Aslam 


The neighbouring NA-47 covers the upscale urban areas of F and G sectors along with Blue Area, Bara Kahu, Pind Begwal and Bani Gala. 

NA-47 was formerly designated NA-53 and saw PTI founder Imran Khan win the seat with 92,891 votes, followed by former prime minister and PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who bagged 44,314 votes. In comparison, PPP candidate Sibtul Haider Bukhari received 17,970 votes. 

When Imran vacated the seat, PTI's Ali Nawaz Awan won it with 50,943 votes in the by-polls to retain it.

PML-N is fielding Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry. He will face stiff competition from former PPP leader Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and 36 other candidates. 

PTI's core committee member, Shoaib Shaheen, is also contesting polls here. Still, this time, he appears to be in a weak position. 

PPP's Sibtul Haider Bukhari has campaigned in the constituency but does not seem to enjoy bright chances of success.

Independent candidate of the Awami Workers Party, Mohammad Iqbal Jahan, is also contesting polls. Another prominent independent is the transgender Nayyab Ali. 


NA-48 comprises southern parts of a T-shaped Islamabad, comprising Chak Shahzad, Tarlai, Loi Bher, Sihala, and Rawat. It is comprised of rural, suburban and urban areas.

In NA-48, Raja Khurram Nawaz was fielded as the joint IPP and PML-N candidate. Even though 37 other candidates are also competing for the seat, he has a good chance to win it because the other candidates are comparatively weak.

Nawaz had been elected from this area on a PTI ticket in the last general elections when it was designated as NA-52. He had bagged 64,690 votes. His opponent from the PPP, Afzal Khokhar, got 34,072 votes, and PML-N leader Tariq Fazal Chaudhry bagged the third po­sition with 33,519 votes.

This time, the PPP has fielded Chaudhry Asad Pervez.

Political experts believe that this constituency will be won or lost in the rural areas where tough competition is expected compared to the urban and periurban areas.

Political experts believe that the PML-N will face an uphill battle in the federal capital, where urban voters are politically savvy while rural areas are not too far behind. 

In NA-46 and NA-47, the PML-N does not enjoy a comfortable position and could lose one of these seats. 

The IPP will be looking to make a mark in NA-48. It will be a double victory for IPP in NA-48 because its president, Abdul Aleem Khan, owns and operates his housing society, Park Enclave, here.