A very close call is expected in NA 60 as Awami Muslim League’s Sheikh Rasheed and PML-N’s Hanif Abbasi go neck and neck in their respective polls.
Party – Awami Muslim League AML
Highest Office Held – Current leader of AML
Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed started his political career when he was just a student during the administration of Ayub Khan. 1988. He served as a member of the National Assembly in 1985 and 1988. Rasheed went through several parties including a rejection from PML-N, later joining PML-Q an PTI. Before this, he also contested elections as an independent candidate. He finally formed his own party the AML and will be contesting elections under its banner.
As for his promises, Rasheed has said he will ensure the completion of Nullah Leh Highway Express project and Ghazi-Barotha Hydropower Project. He has also promised to “return the looted wealth of thieves”, which alludes to combatting corruption as well.
Rasheed was also chosen as a candidate for PM by Imran Khan when Nawaz Sharif was thrown from power. His close ties to the PTI Chief and visionary similarities will perhaps be the best indicator of his potential success in the upcoming elections.
Party – PML-N
Highest Office Held – Member of the Parliament of Pakistan
Hanif Abbasi was an owner of a general store back in 1986 and was later made the branch manager of Habib Industrial Cooperative Corporation in 1990 post his father’s demise. It was then that he moved to Pindi. In 2002, Abbasi contested in the elections as a member of Jamaat-e-Islami and was defeated by Sheikh Rasheed for NA 56.
However, Abbasi was elected as a member of the National Assembly on behalf of Rawalpindi for PML-N back in 2008. He contested Ahmed again in the same year and defeated him with 73,433 votes in his favor.
In the year 2012, Abbasi got involved in the ephedrine drug controversy and continues to be embroiled in it to date. Abbasi was allegedly smuggling the narcotic outside of Pakistan, avoiding its use in the local medicines. As a result of this, an FIR was filed against him by the Anti-Narcotics Force and he was sent to jail. Abbasi, along with 2 others were later released on bail. This ongoing controversy, which will be bought to court again on July 21, is bound to impact is campaign just 4 days before the general elections on July 25.
It is expected that the NA-60 constituency will be a tough one. The seat has been home to PML-N traditionally, however, in 2013, Abbasi contested the general elections against PTI’s Imran Khan and was defeated by a flopping 13356 votes. With Rasheed being relatively close to PTI and the party not fielding candidates against him this time around, it is safe to say Rasheed might just win.
Still, the running might be a close call since the Abbasi has a decent track record of beating Ahmed as well. The only thing going against him currently is the drugs case. Nevertheless, the infamous political wit and ‘cigar smoking’ persona of Rasheed’s has recently gotten quite famous with the public. So he might just emerge victorious.