Dubai: At least six Pakistani expatriates living in the UAE are contesting general elections in their country to fulfil their dreams to be parliamentarians.
Two of them are vying for the National Assembly seats while four are competing for the Provincial Assembly seats in Punjab.
Chaudhry Noorul Hassan Tanveer, a Dubai-based prominent businessman and President of the Pakistan Muslim League –Nawaz (PML-) in the Middle East, is running on the National Assembly seat from Southern Punjab.
Khayal Zaman Khan, a Dubai-based real estate developer, is competing under the banner of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on the National Assembly seat from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. This will be his second stint in the office if elected.
Akhtar Gopang, a Sharjah-based businessman who also runs an open kitchen, is running for the Provincial Assembly seat from Southern Punjab under the banner of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) while Chaudhry Mohammad Shakeel is competing on the Provincial Assembly seat from Sialkot city in Punjab. He is also a PPP candidate.
Another Sharjah-based businessman Azad Ali Tabbassam, a PML-N candidate, is vying for the Provincial Assembly seat in Punjab. He won the 2013 elections as well and competing again.
Also Dubai-based businessman Ehsanul Haq Bawja is running for the second time for the Pronvincial Assembly seat from Southern Punjab under the banner of the PML-N.
Speaking to Gulf News, Chaudhry Shakeel who also met his party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, said that he is very hopeful to win the election though the competition in his constituency is quite tough. “I am here to fight for the rights of the overseas Pakistanis who are always ignored in the elections,” he said, adding that he would fight for reserved seats for overseas Pakistanis in the parliament.
Gopang said his main aim of competing the election is to highlight the issues in his impoverished and underdeveloped areas in Southern Punjab. “I have good chance to make it to the parliament as I have immense support from my friends in the UAE.”
Chaudhry Tanveer said there are two main things on his agenda. “First, I want to get right to vote for overseas Pakistanis and the second I want to fight for the reserved seats for them as they should have representation in the parliament to raise their issues.”
Tabassam said his track record of helping the community overseas and in his area would help him win for the second time. “I am pretty sure people will vote for me as I raised their concerns in the parliament and managed to do a lot of development work in my area.”