| The People of Murree,
whose love for freedom and independence is well exhibited by their resistance to
Sikh and earlier part of British rule, whole heartedly supported the
Pakistan movement. Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was given warmly welcome when
he passed through the territory during his visit to Kashmir in in 1944. Special programmes were formulated for his return journey from the state
and was received at Kohala bridge and was taken in a long procession to Murree city where he addressed a large receptive crowed and elucidated the need for Pakistan.
In the all important elections of 1945 Murree, Kahuta and present day Kotli Sattian had one Muslim reserved seat in the Punjab Assembly. The All India Muslim League fielded Raja Kala Khan of Rawat (Bhurban) against the seat while the pro Congress Unionist Party headed by Punjab Premier of the time Khizer Hayat Tiwana put up Raja Fatah Khan of Kahuta. In the election the people of all these areas including Murree gave overwhelming decision in support of establishment of Pakistan by voting in Raja Kala Khan whose tally was only surpassed by Sir Feroz Khan Noon in the whole of the Punjab.
Raja Kala Khan continued to represent the area in the Punjab and subsequently in West Pakistan Assembly till the imposition of Martial Law in 1958. In the era of shifting loyalties and palace intrigues he showed his character and honesty.
On March 23, 1956 constitution of Pakistan came into force and the
country became a republic. Elections under the constitution were scheduled to
take to take place in 1959. However in October 1958 the constitution was
abrogated and Martial Law was imposed in the country. General, later
Field Marshal, Ayub Khan, became first military ruler.
In 1962 Ayub Khan gave another constitution to the country.
Under this system elections for National and provincial assemblies were held in 1962. During these election Raja Ghulam Sarwar was elected as member West Pakistan Assembly from Murree region . Raja Ghulam Sarwar was reelected in 1965. He was father of Raja Ashfaq Sarwar who is currently Punjab Minister and Secretary General of Punjab Chapter of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. His Cousin Raja Fiyyaz Sarwar was member of Punjab Assembly from the constituency during 2008-13 when Ashfaq due to some legal hitches could not contest himself.
Bhutto PeriodLike other regions in the then West Pakistan, opular leadership and statesmen qualities and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto won him many die hard workers and supporters in the area when he formed Pakistan People's Party in 1967. Universal adult franchise was allowed in Pakistan on the eve of 1970 elections. In the National Assembly's elections Pakistan People's Party's Col Habib Ahmed was elected with an overwhelming majority. His main rivals were Brigadier Muhammad Saddique and Taj Abbasi but they failed to make any mark.
In the provincial Assembly Raja Ghulam Sarwar of Pakistan Muslim League- Council was considered a very strong candidate. As mentioned earlier he had served as West Pakistan Assembly throughout the Ayub regime. However PPP's Babu Muhammad Hanif won the election with a clear margin. Raja Ghulam Sarwar, however challenged the candidature of Babu Hanif on the ground that later had not completed the mandatory two years period after leaving the government service.
Babu Muhammad Hanif lost the case and was deseated.
Babu Hanif, as he as popularly known was again fielded by PPP during the ensuing bye elections. Raja Ghulam Sarwar however decided not to contest and instead fielded Sardar Muhammad Ismael of Rawat in his place. Babu Hanif won the elections securing 29215 votes. His rival Sardar Ismeal Khan polled 9072 votes
Third Military Rule: Zia PeriodIn 1977 general elections Pakistan National Alliance [PNA] consisting of nine opposition parties representing conflicting views, fielded current PML-N Chairman Raja Zaffar ul Haq for National Assembly while late Qari Asadullah Abbasi was awarded ticket for the Punjab Assembly. PPP bestowed its confidence on incumbent pair of Col (r) Habib and Babu Muhammad Hanif. The PPP candidates again won the elections. After the ensuing PNA movement, Martial Law was imposed in the country which remained in operation for eight long years.
Soon after the military coup Col Retired Habib was arrested and sent to prison. In 1980, he along with other PPP workers was sent to Libya in forced exile. He returned to Pakistan in 1988 but was not given party from this constituency. He was fielded from another seat consisting of Wah and Taxila and western outskirts of Rawalpindi where he lost the election to Ch Nisar Ali Khan.
After two defeats in 1988 and 1990 PPP
fielded himfrom Murree and Kahuta seat in 1993 but lost to PML-N's Shahhid Khaqan Abbasi
(see also) . His daughter Fauzia Habib was elected MNA on seats reserved for women on PPP ticket in 2002-7 . She was again elected as MNA in 2008 and
served as Secretary to President Zardari.
Babu Muhammad Hanif died during the martial law period. His son Kashif Abbasi is renown journalist and popular TV anchor.
Col (Retired) Muhammad Yameen won PP-9 consisting parts of present day Kotli Sattian and Kahuta Tehsils
by polling 14951 votes. His close rival was
Sardar Muhammad Aslam
[later judge at Lahore High Court and chief justice Islamabad High Court and
judge Supreme Courtof Pakistan] and who polled 12442 while Muhammad Sattarullah Advocate
received 9,253. Other important candidate was Muhammad Sattar Raja who polled 5,836.
Democratic interludeOn 28 May, 1988 General Zia ul Haq using his powers under article 58-2(b) of the constitution dissolved the National Assembly and dismissed the government of Prime Minister Muhammad Khan Junejo. Provincial Chief Ministers including Mian Nawaz Sharif in Punjab decided to support the decision of the military ruler and advised the respective governors to dissolve the provincial Assemblies too. All of tem were allowed to stay on as caretaker Chief Ministers.
Constitution of Pakistan stipulates holding of elections within 90 days of
such dissolution but General Zia ul Haq was not known for respecting such
constitutional or legal niceties. Let alone elections he even failed to give a
date for the same till his death in air crash almost eighty days after the
dissolution. After his death, his successors announced date for fresh
In PP-9 IJI again refused ticket to 1985 winner Col (retired) Yamin Satti and instead fielded Muhammad Yasin. [late Col Yameen Satti's son Bilal Yamin Satti insists that his father was contesting as IJI candidate with bicycle as his symbol. He says that Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, then Punjab Chief Minister and head of IJI had personally given ticket to his father, col Yameen and allowed him to support Shahid Khaqan Abbasi against Raja Zaffar ul Haq who was official party candidate. However Election Commission record speaks otherwise.]
PPP's candidate was Raja Muhammad Sattarullah who had contested and lost 1985 elections. Col Yamin ran as independent candidate and won the election by polling 24,505 votes. PPP's Sattarullah secured 17,117 votes. Yamin Satti joined PML after winning the elections. Both Ashfaq Sarwar and Yamin Satti served in the Punjab government lead by Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.
She warded off the no confidence motion against her in July 1989 despite last minute withdrawal of support by MQM but a year later President, with support and prodding from other anti Bhutto forces mentioned above struck in,
dissolving the National Assembly and installed a caretaker government
consisting of Bhutto's sworn enemies .
PPP again fielded Raja Muhammad Anwar from NA-36 while IJI this time
nominated Shahid Khaqan Abbasi without any hesitation. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi won the
virtual two way race by securing 80305 votes. Raja Anwar polled polled 54753,
In the provincial Assembly IJI fielded Raja Ashfaq Sarwar from PP-8 while Col (retired) Yamin was
given the party ticket from PP 9. PPP retained Meharram Ali Abbasi and Raja Sattarullah respectively. However IJI's candidates won the contest with wide margins. In PP-8 Raja Ashfaq Sarwar polled 41,275 votes as compared to 12, 505 of Muharram Ali Abbasi. Traders leader Raj Muhammad Abbasi contesting for PML-(Qasim)polled 793 votes. In PP-9 Col (retired) Yamin polled 33,547 as compared to 18,450 polled by PPP' Starrullah Advocate.
The provincial Assemblies were however not dissolved. In Punjab which was and still remains as power base of Nawaz Sharif, most of the members took no time in ditching him. Vote of no confidence was passed against Chief Minister Ghulam Haider Wyne and Speaker Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo was elected to replace him as Chief Minister. During these trying times MPA from Murree Ashfaq Sarwar stood his ground and remained loyal to his party leader. However Col Yamin Satti drifted with the waves and Joined Manzoor Wattoo's government.
Meanwhile on May 29 Supreme Court decided in favour of Nawaz Sharif and restored his government. Despite restoration Nawaz Sharif could not regain his control and tug of war
between him and President Ghulam Ishaq Khan continued. Seeing the worsening
situation Army Chief General Wahid Kakar intervened and persuaded both on an
agreement under which National and Provincial Assemblies were dissolved,
President resigned and an interim set up under Moeen Qureshi was established to
supervise elections which were scheduled for . PMLas well as IJI could not withstood the tumultuous times and disintegrated.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif formed his own faction of the party named as PML-Nawaz with major chunk of the party going with him. A small pro-Ghulam Ishaq
Khan group in the party retained the official symbol PML-Junejo.
The acrimony between two main parties continued. In 1996 relations between President and PM deteriorated. Murder of brother Mir Murteza Bhutto further weakened the Benazir Bhutto.
Fourth Military Coup and LaterShahid Khaqan Abbasi was later appointed Chairman PIA and was at his office when in 1999 the drama of PIA's Colombo to Karachi flight's so called hijacking took place and the events culminated in end of Nawaz Sharif Government and imposition of yet another Military rule in the country. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was arrested along with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and others on accusation of hijacking the plane. Later Mian Nawaz Sharif under an agreement with the military ruler accepted banishment from the country for ten years. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi however, served jail for some time and was released later in 2001.
The military government decided to hold elections for the National and provincial assemblies in October 2002. Before the elections directly elected constituencies of National and provincial assemblies were increased and re-demarcated. The constituency representing Murree, Kolti Sattian, Kahuta and Kallar Saidan subdivisions of Rawalpindi district was renumbered as NA-50. There are two Punjab Assembly constituencies under the National Assembly seat. PP-1 represents the areas of Murree and Kotli Sattian subdivisions while PP-2 represent Kahuta.
PML-N decided to retained Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for the National Assembly. However it fielded new candidates for the provincial assembly seats. Raja Ashfaq Sarwar did not contest the election for unknown reasons and Riaz Satti was fielded for PP-1. From PP-2 Raja Muhammad Ali, son of veteran politician and PML-N Chairman Raja Zaffar ul Haq was given party ticket. This time his rival from PPP was Ghulam Murteza Satti, a young internee in the field of electoral politics. For the provincial Assembly His partner for Punjab Assembly was Raja Shafqat Abbasi. Shafqat Abbasi was also contesting elections for the first time but has long served PPP as a worker and was well known and respected among the local PPP workers and supporters.
The pair was able to do what PPP had been dreaming from 1985 and won back both the constituencies for the party. Mutahida Majlis e Ammal, a conglomerate of six religo-political parties, including among others Jamaat e Islami and two factions of JUI emerged as an important electoral force during the election. The alliance put up Muhammad Sufyan Abbasi of Jammat e Islami for the National Assembly and Qari Saifullah Saifi of JUI-F for the Punjab Assembly. Murteza Satti won by securing 74259 got 63797 while Sufyan Abbasi did remarkably well and secured 29331 votes. In PP-1 MMA did even better and its candidate Saif Ullah Saifi secured 26205 and lost to Raja Shafqat Mahmood Abbasi of PPP who secured 29066 votes. PML-N's Col ®Muhammad Riaz Satti secured third position by polling 24855. Other contestants included Haji Muhammad Rashid of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (4369) independent candidate Samira Satti Independent (1179) and PML-N dissident Major ® Raja Rabnawaz Khan Independent 437.
By the end of the tenure of parliament which was elected in 2002, General Pervez Musharraf became totally discredited and unpopular. The lawyer's movement for the restoration of Chief Justice of Supreme Court Iftikhar Muhammad Choudhry supported by large section of people made him utterly unpopular. He tried to get the control back by imposing a mini martial law on November 3 2007 but it was already too late and soon he was forced to resign from his military post and restore the constitution. Both leading Political leaders Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif were allowed to return to the country and lead their parties in the elections which were scheduled to take place on January 8, 2008. Meanwhile Benazir Bhutto as assassinated on December 27, 2007 in Rawalpindi and elections were to postponed for forty days and were held on February 18, 2008.
Both PPP and PML-N retained their candidates for both National Assembly and underlying Punjab Assembly constituency PP-2. For PP-1 Raja Faiz Sarwar, cousin of former MPA and Minister Raja Ashfaq Sarwar was given the party party ticket. MMA which had emerged as a major factor after 2002 elections could not survive the monumental changes taking place in national politics in 2007 and fell apart on JI, JUI-F divide. Jamaat e Islami along with some small parties decided to boycott the elections. JUI-F on the other hand remained in the field. However it lacked support in the area where most of the religious vote has been clung with Jamaat e Islami.
PML-Q fielded Javed Iqbal Satti for the National Assembly and former Naib Nazim Murree from PP-1 and Raja Nousherwan Akhtar from PP-2. In NA-50 Shahid Khaqan Abbasi won the National Assembly seat by securing 99988 votes. Incumbent PPP's Ghulam Murteza Satti polled 77978 votes while Javed Iqbal Satti of PML-Q received 28188 votes. In PP-1 consisting of Murree and Kotli Satian Raja Faiz Sarwar of PML-N won by securing 40517 while PPP's Shafqat Abbasi received 32965. PML-Qs' Sardar Sajid Khan did well by polling 25218. In PP-2 which includes Kahuta Tehsil and parts of Kallar Sayyadan PPP's Sahbir Awan won by securing 32816 votes while incumbent Raja Muhammad Ali of PML-N secured 30962 voted. An independent candidate Bilal Yamin Satti secured 23012 votes. PML-Q's Nosherwan Akhtar could secure only 12456.
After the elections PPP and PML-N joined together and formed a coalition government at the federal level as well as in the Punjab. Yousaf Raza Gilani was elected as Prime Minister
Local Government system and Tehsil NazimsMilitary government under General Musharraf announced new Local Government System with the objective to transfer power at district and lower level from bureaucracy to the people and their representatives. Local representative governments were planned at Union, Tehsil and District level and powers of colonial vantage of Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner were done away with. The Office of Commissioner was abolished and powers of those of Deputy Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner were transferred to District Nazim and Tehsil Nazim respectively. Under the system direct elections were planned at Union Council level. The people were empowered to directly elect Nazim and Naib Nazim and 19 other members of the Union Council under system of proportional representation. As has been the case with all military government apathy towards organized voice of the people the elections were to be non party basis. Like wise all elections above the Union Council were indirect. Only members elected at the Union level form the electorate for elections at Tehsil and District level and the people, once having elect the members at Union level, lost all powers in the elections at more important Tehsil and district levels. The non party elections was to be only an eye wash as after the elections all of those elected on non party basis were forced to join and support the officially sanctioned Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid e Azam) and other parties supported by the Military government.
Khurshid Abbasi (2001-5)
Election under the system took place in two phases in July and August 2001. During the election Raja Khurshid Abbasi was elected as Nazim with support from PPP and other parties. Sardar Sajid Was elected as his Naib Nazim.
Sardar Salim (2005- )On completion of tenure of these Local Government institutions, new elections took place in 2005. In the first phase elections at Union Council level were held. At the results Murree made headlines across the country that PML-N has swept the polls. The Councilors belonging to PML-N and other opposition parties elected nominated Almas Abbasi as their candidate for the Tehsil Nazim. The PML-Q government in the Punjab had nominated Sardar Saleem, elder brother of former Naib Nazim Sardar Sajid, as official candidate for the office of Tehsil Nazim. Sardar Saleem was also Chief Organizer of Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid e Azam) for NA-50. Strangely, days before the polling, Almas Abbasi met the Punjab Chief Minister Choudhry Pervez Elahi and assured him his loyalties and support. The Chief Minister in return withdrew the government ticket from Sardar Salim and bestowed it on Almas Abbasi. However even without the government support, Sardar Salim won the election quite easily to become Nazim Murree.