IMRAN KHAN, PTI
The man who believes he will be Pakistan’s next Prime Minister is contesting five seats in the provinces of Punjab, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Islamabad Capital Territory; his battle in Islamabad II (NA-53) is with Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who succeeded Nawaz Sharif as PM.
SHAHBAZ SHARIF, PML (N)
Punjab CM from 2013-2018, PML (N) president since brother Nawaz’s disqualification. Pragmatic on India-Pak relations; not as distrusted by Army as Nawaz. Contesting Dera Ghazi Khan (NA-192) against PTI candidate from locally powerful Leghari clan, and Lahore (NA-132).
FATHER, SON, AND COMEBACK HOPES
ASIF ALI ZARDARI & BILAWAL BHUTTO ZARDARI, PPP
Benazir’s 62-year-old husband, who is blamed for PPP’s stunning 2013 defeat, is contesting Shaheed Benazirbad I (NA-213) — his first parliamentary election since 1993. Benazir’s 29-year-old son, PPP’s Prime Ministerial face, is a first- timer, contesting from two seats, both in Sindh.
JOKER IN THE PACK
CHAUDHRY NISAR ALI KHAN, Independent
Nawaz’s Interior Minister now stays away from PML (N). Has ambitions, is close to Army, and is expected to pitch for top job in a hung Assembly. Contesting two National Assembly, two Punjab provincial Assembly seats.
ANOTHER THROW OF DICE
SYED MUSTAFA KAMAL, Pak Sarzameen Party
Former member of MQM and star mayor of Karachi, returned from Dubai at a time the Army had cracked down heavily on Altaf Hussain’s party. Set up own outfit, contesting one National Assembly, one Sindh Assembly seat.
CANDIDATES OF TERROR
HAFIZ TALHA SAEED & HAFIZ KHALEED WALEED
Talha, son of Laskhar-e-Taiba leader Hafiz Saeed, is contesting for Allah-o-Akbar party, set up after Saeed’s other political front, Milli Muslim League, was denied registration. Hafiz is not contesting himself; has fielded 79 candidates for National Assembly, 181 for the four provincial Assemblies. UN-designated terrorist Waleed is contesting Lahore XI (NA-133), which was won by PML (N) in 2013.
MOHAMMED AHMED LUDHIANVI & AURANGAZEB FAROOQI
Both belong to Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, an organisation banned under the Pakistan Anti-Terrorism Act. Ludhianvi is contesting as an Independent from Jhang II (NA-115) in Punjab; Farooqi is a candidate of ASWJ’s political front, Pakistan Rah-e-Haq party from Malir III (NA-238) in Karachi.