Political History

The early years

 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 the new constitution, known as Constitution of Pakistan 1962, tailor made to serve the interests of the Military dictator, a system of basic democracies was provided. Under the system 80,000 members of local councils,(40,000 from West Pakistan and 40,000 from East Pakistan, now Bangladesh) were elected through direct elections. Members of these councils called basic democrats then served as electoral college for the election of National and Provincial Assemblies as well as the president of 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 Period

Like 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 Period

In 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.

The military government decided to hold elections for parliament and Provincial assemblies in February 1985. Elections were to be held on non party  basis under special laws framed by Zia ul Haq in order to perpetuate his own rule.  PPP and other parties in Movement for Restoration of Democracy [MRD] decided to boycott the elections, a decision PPP rues till today. Jammat e Islami and politicians aligned with General Zia ul Haq and his regime decided to participate. In the absence of political parties, ideologies and programmes; bradari, clan, ethnic, sectarian and religion identities or whatever that can divide one group of people from another became war cry which had long lasting consequences for the nation as a whole.

After the military coup in 1977 Raja Zaffar ul Haq had aligned himself to the military government and was appointed as Federal Minister of Information and Broadcasting. He had the confidence and trust of General Zia ul Haq who often called him his 'opening batsman'. During the military rule, the Raja from village Mator in Kahuta, used government resources and position to to strengthen his vote bank in the area. He created a group of beneficiaries who had resources and social clout to provide big boost to his electoral position.

During the local government elections of 1979 and 1983 Raja Zaffar ul Haq got his supporters elected to important positions in municipal bodies further improving his electoral strength. The fact that Raja Zaffar ul Haq was serving as Information Minister in the military government at the time of elections and and general perception that he will have similar or even better position in future setup further improved his prospects . His main rival Pakistan People's Party was not contesting the elections. All these factors made him one of the most powerful candidates not only in the constituency but across the nation.

His opponents rightly judged his strength and decided to field a strong candidate in person of Air Commodore (r) Khaqan Abbasi, an affluent businessman from Dewal and himself having erstwhile association with General Zia and affinal ties with his military clique.  Khaqan Abbasi and General Zil ul Haq had served together in Jordanian armed forced as one star generals and enjoyed good family ties. However Khaqan Abbasi like an astute politician was able to direct all anti Zia sentiments against Raja Zaffar ul Haq and turned the tide against him. Khaqan Abbasi polled 61618 votes against 53233 polled by Raja Zaffar ul Haq. Other claimants namely Anis Khan Sethi and Captain Muhammad Riaz could only poll paltry 2096 and 706 only.

Khaqan Abbasi's group was also able to win both the Punjab Assembly seats falling within the NA-36 constituency. In PP-8 consisting of Murree sub-division Lt Col (retired) Naseer Satti narrowly edged out Raja Fayyaz Sarwar of Zaffar Ul Haq group. Naseer Satti polled 12112 votes while Faiz Sarwar garnered 11039 only. Dr. Malik Mahmood Ahmed, Akabar Abbasi and Qari Asadullah polled 7681, 5493 and 5402 respectively.

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.

In 1985, Khaqan Abbasi briefly served as Federal Minister for Production. He was killed during Ohjeri Camp military depot explosion on April 10, 1988. Bye election was announced to refill the seat and PML nominated Shahid Khaqan Abbbasi, son of Khaqan Abbasi as its candidate.  However, President General Zia ul Haq dissolved the National Assembly along with the provincial assemblies on May 29, 1988. Though he promised fresh elections but no date was announced till his death in air crash on August 17, 1988

Democratic interlude

On 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 elections.
In the meantime official PML disintegrated into two factions one lead by the sacked Prime Minister Muhammad Khan Junejo and other consisting Zia of loyalist lead then Punjab Chief Minister and now Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif. The former group joined Tareek e Istaqlal and Jammiat Ulema e Pakistan to form National Democratic Alliance. Than  Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Chief Lt Gen Hamid Gul with the backing of Acting President Ghulam Ishaq Khan as well as Army Chief General Asalm Beg cobbled together an alliance [Islami Jamoor Itehad, Islamic Democratic Alliance-IJI]   of anti PPP and pro-establishment parties  to defeat PPP. Chief Lt General ( now retired) Hamid Gul takes credit for the formation of the alliance which he says was done to stop PPP from winning the elections. Later Muhammad Junejo was persuaded to reunite the party. He retained his position as head of PML however, Nawaz Sharif though remained chief of IJI.

Supreme Court in related development accepted petition by PPP leader Benazir Bhutto asking the authorities to hold immediate polls and allow political parties to participate in the same. IJI nominated Raja Zaffar ul Haq as it candidate from NA-36 and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi decided to contest as an independent.  PPP gave ticket to renown lawyer Raja Muhammad Anwar.  Shahid Khaqan won the election by securing 49877 votes as compared to 44915 secured by Raja Zaffar ul Haq. PPP's Raja Muhammad Anwar could poll only 43827 votes. Later Shahid Khaqan joined the Pakistan Muslim League.

In the Provincial Assembly PPP nominated party loyalist Muharram Ali Abbasi as its candidate from Murree. Muharram Ali Abbasi had bravely lead the party during long years of Martial law and faced jail on many occasions . IJI nominated incumbent Col Naseer Satti, who had joined PML after 1985 elections.  Most important among long list of other candidates was Raja Ashfaq Sarwar whose father Raja Ghulam Sarwar had twice served the constituency as member West Pakistan Assembly in 1960s. PPP dissidents Ayaz Abbasi and Hafeez ur Rehman Abbasi played as spoilers for their party helping an Independent candidate Raja Ashfaq Sarwar win the elections. Ashfaq Sarwar polled 20,606 votes while PPP's Muharram Ali Abbasi was runner up with 15,246 votes.  IJI's Col (retired) Naseer Satti was a distant third with 6,676 votes.

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.

After the elections PPP leader Benazir Bhutto was elected as Prime Minister, first women to hold the position in the Muslim world. However situation was highly loaded against her. Presidency, civil military establishment and governments in Punjab and Balochistan were all arrayed against her. Having boycotted the 1985 elections, her PPP hardly had any member in the Senate thus making it impossible for her government to carry out any legislative work beyond money bills.

 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 . 

Dozens of cases ranging from corruption to murder were instituted against Benazir Bhutto and (now President) Asif Ali Zardar.   Bhutto also had to face the trail by media where she and Zardari were accused of almost all crimes under the sun. Additionally, IJI leaders were provided funds by intelligence agencies including ISI and other state resources were made available the them to defeat PPP. [For details see Supreme Court judgment in Asghar Khan case]. Against all this PPP slogan was 'Ya Allah Ya Rasool Benazir Beqasur (Oh God, Oh prophet Benazir is innocent.)

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.

As a result of the elections of Mian Nawaz Sharif was elected as Prime Minister. In Punjab he nominated his close aide and confidant Ghulam Haider Wyne as Chief Minister.  Army Chief Asif Janjua suddenly died in November 1992 and differences between the Prime Minister and President Ghulam Ishaq Khan on his replacement. Though General Waheed Kakar was appointed as Army Chief but the relations between the President and Prime Minister deteriorated with each passing day and country remained in grip on rumours. In the meantime Muhammad Khan Junejo died and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif got himself elected as President of the party. Junejo loylist in the party lead by Hamid Nasir Chattah opposed the election saying it was done in indecent haste. on April 16 1993, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif went on national Radio and TV, criticized presidential transgressions and pledged not to accept dictation from the President. However President struck the next day and dissolved the National Assembly and dismissed the government of Mian Nawaz Sharif.  Nawaz Sharif challenged the Presidential degree in Supreme Court like Bhutto had done three years earlier.

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.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz decided to contest the elections single handedly while the breakaway PML-Junejo joined PPP in People's Democratic Alliance. Jamaat e Islami created Pakistan Islamic Front with the help of Muhammad Ali Durrani's Pasban to contest the elections. PML-N retained Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for the National Assembly Raja Ashfaq Sarwar for Punjab Assembly from PP-8 consisting of Murree Tehsil. As already stated Col Yamin Satti had joined anti Nawaz Sharif group. PML-N feilded Shahid Riaz Satti  from PP-9. In the National Assembly PPP this time fielded senior party leader and once party MNA from the area Col Habib Khan.

In the Provincial Assembly Hafeez ur Rehan was fielded from PP-8 while PP decided to support Col Yamin contesting on PML-J's ticket for the PP-9. PIF put up Imtiaz Taj for National Assembly while Wing Commander (retired) Zarin Qureshi was the Jamaat's candidate for PP-9 and Raja Muhammad Asharf for PP-9. PPP dissident Zumarrad Iqbal was other important candidate for PP-8.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi again won the seats with 76,596 votes. PPP's Col (r) Habib could secure only 45193. Jamaat e Islami's Imtiaz Taj coul get only 9,451 votes. In provincial Assembly Raja Ashfaq Sarwar won the election by polling 26,983 votes. His close rival was PPP's Hafeez ur Rehman Abbasi who secured 17,069. Raja Zummard Iqbal was third with 4212 votes. Jamaat e Islami could not do much and finished sixth with 2515 votes. In PP-9 Col. Yamin, despite PPP's support lost with a clear margin of eleven thousand votes to PML-N's newcomer Shahid Riaz Satti.

The election transformed Mian Nawaz Sharif from a seemingly stooge of establishment into a true national leader. Despite missing state support, which he enjoyed in all previous elections, he won votes and seats from all over the country. Though PML-N won less seats than PPP but its tally of 81,23,244 votes nationwide were more than PPP's 78,19,624. PPP however won more seats and with the help of its allies was able to form governments in Islamabad as well as all the four provinces. Benazir Bhutto was elected again as Prime Minister and later senior party leader Farooq Ahmed Leghari was elected as the President.

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.

On November 5, 1996 another President using the powers under article 58-2(b) of the constitution dissolved the National Assembly and dismissed the government. Asif Ali Zardari was arrested and numerous cases from cheating to murder were constituted against Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari. Anti Benazir leaders were again assembled to form a 'caretaker government' to oversees the elections which were scheduled for February 1997. This time PPP did not field any candidate of its own from NA-36. Instead it supported Muhammad Zaheeruddin Babar Awan who was contesting on PML-J ticket.  Babar Awan later joined PPP and was elected as Senator. He served as Law Minister in Yousaf Raza Gilani lead government and briefly served as vice president of the party]  PML-N retained Sahid Khaqan Abbasi. During these elections Javed Iqbal Satti came into electoral politics for the first time. In the Provincial PML-N retained bother Raja Ashfaq Sarwar and Shahid Raiz Satti from PP-8 and PP-9 respectively.

PPP retained Hafeez ur Rehman from PP-8 while it fielded Raja Pervez Akhtar Satti from PP-9 as Yamin Satti seeing the mood of the people decided to try luck as an independent candidate. Like elsewhere in the country particularly the Punjab dejected PPP voters failed to show up at the polling stations. In NA-36 Shahid Khaqan Abbasi again won by polling 65,195 votes. PML-J's Babar Awan supported by PPP could poll only 21,765 while an Independent candidate Javed Iqbal Satti received 21, 386.

In PP-8 Raja Ashfaq Sarwar polled 22,468 while an Independent candidate Sardar Sajid stood second with 11211 votes. PPP's Hafeezur Rehman coul poll only 4,422 votes. After the elections Mian Nawaz Sharif once again assumed office of Prime Minister while contrary to all expectations his younger brother Mian Shahbaz Sharif was elected as Chief Minister Punjab. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was nominated as Adviser to Prime Minister on Aviation and Chairman PIA with status as Federal Minister. Raja Ashfaq Sarwar became a Minister in Punjab Assembly.
Sardar Mehtab Khan Abbasi, elected from neighboring constituency in Abbottabad District was also elected as Chief Minister NWFP. Nawaz's years in office were tumultuous and he seemed to be in a hurry. Soon after taking over he reversed a twenty years old decision and restored Sunday as weekly off. In April 1997 he was able to get all parties support in the parliament to do away with presidential powers dissolve the parliament and make important appointments as chiefs of armed forces and provincial governors. In autumn the same year after a protected stand off with the president Leghari and Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah he was able to get rid of both and got his supporters elected/nominated at both the important positions. In April 1998 opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was sentenced to jail and disqualified from holding office in cooked up charges.

In October that year he sacked Army Chief General Jahangir Karamat and appointed General Pervez Musharraf to take his position. In foreign relations India went nuclear in May 1998 and despite foreign pressure Pakistan followed the suit. In February next year Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Pakistan and in a highly symbolic gesture went to Minar e Pakistan in Lahore and vowed for friendly relations between the two countries. In May that year it became evident that Pakistan army with the help some other elements occupied heights across the Line of Control in Kashmir which lead to limited war between the two countries. General hostilities were only averted with personal intervention of US President Bill Clinton. Prime Minister and his cabinet believed that Army Chief General Musharraf ordered the incursion without informing the Prime Minister. Uneasiness between the two continued. On October 12 1998 Prime Minister announced sacking the General Pervez Musharraf as Army Chief and appointed Lt General Ziauddin who was then Director General ISI at his place. At the time of the decision General Musharraf happened to be flying home from Colombo in a PIA flight. Pakistan Army , however occupied the Karachi Airport to received the 'chief' while other elements from the force occupied buildings of Radio and TV in Islamabad to stop the news being aired. Prime Minister was arrested along with his brother and important party leaders. later Nawaz Sharif along with Defence Minister Syed Ghouse Ali Shah, PIA Chairman Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif and DG Civil Aviation Agency were booked for attempting to hijacking the PIA's Colombo to Karachi flight and endangering the lives of the passengers. A anti terrorist court in Karachi sentenced Nawaz Sharif to life imprisonment and exonerated the others including Shahid Khaqan Abbasi were exonerated. Later Nawaz Sharif asked for clemency in exchange for compulsory exile in Saudi Arabia for ten years and left the country along with his family. Shahid Khaqan remained in jail for sometime and was than released.

Fourth Military Coup and Later

Shahid 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 Nazims

Military 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.


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Last Updated on April 26, 2014
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