|Area: 8,809 km2|
|Population: 3,353,000 Est.2006|
|National Assembly Seats: 6|
|Provincial Assembly Seats: 11|
|Tehsils/ sub divisions: 4|
Ahmad Pur Sial
Most Influential Politician: Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat
This district in central Punjab is the setting for the tragic love story of Heer and Ranjha, immortalized in Punjabi literature by Waris Shah. Famous for its rich indigenous culture, Jhang is also well known for the furniture produced in the city of Chiniot. In the recent past, however, the district gained notoriety when religion became an important element of the district’s politics, particularly in urban Jhang where Deobandi clerics emerged as a formidable political force. The first political expression of their might was the rise in the political fortunes of Maulana Manzoor Ahmed Chinioti in the mid-1980s. His election campaigns focused on the anti-Ahmedi plank because of the geographical proximity of Rabwa, the headquarters of the Ahmedi movement, to his constituency in the Chiniot city. Another prominent cleric with a successful political career was Maulana Rahmatullah who won a National Assembly seat from the district against prominent local politicians who were incidentally all Shias. Even in the 2002 elections he bagged about 30,000 votes on one of the two National Assembly seats in the district. He contested the polls as a candidate of the MMA.
But these two clerics were later eclipsed by the subsequent formation and rise of the militant anti-Shia group, Sipah-e-Sahaba (SS.P), and its rival Shia militant groups involved in bloody sectarian violence, which reared its ugly head in the district, in particular, and the country, in general, in the 1980s. Sectarian violence may have decreased over the last few years but the support for the SSP is entrenched in the area: Maulana Azam Tariq, the head of the SSP, was able to win the seat in urban Jhang for the National Assembly in 2002 even though he was in jail and his organization banned.
At the same time, the district is also home to many famous saints: the shrines of Shah Jewana, Hazrat Sultan Bahoo and Mehr Sial Sharif are located here. In one of the constituencies of the district, Faisal Saleh Hayat, the holder of the holy seat – sajjada nashin – of the Shah Jewana shrine is at the centre of one of the most interesting races in the Punjab. His main challenger is his cousin, Begum Abida Hussain. The dominant political families of the district are that of the Syeds of Shah Jewana, Bharwanas, Sials, Sheikhs and Lalis.
However, the district is not just known for politics, sectarianism and its saints. It has also been home to Abdus Salam, a leading physicist of the twentieth century and the first and only Pakistani winner of the Nobel Prize. He was raised in Jhang and is buried in Rabwa, the headquarters of the Ahmedi community in Pakistan
National Assembly Constituencies:
NA-86 Jhang-i Chiniot M.C and major Parts of Chiniot Tehsil
(Constituency shifted with Chiniot district)
NA-87 Jhang-i Bhowana T.C., Parts of Jhang and Chiniot Tehsil.
NA-88 Jhang-ii Lalian T.C., Chanab Nagar T.C., Parts of Jhang and Chiniot Tehsil
NA-89 Jhang-iii Jhang M.C., Bagh T.C., Parts of Jhang Tehsil
NA-90 Jhang-iv Shorkot T.C., Chorkot Cantt., major part of Shorkot Tehsil
NA-91 Jhang-v Garh Maharaja T.C., Ahmed Pur Sial T.C., Parts of Jhang and Shorkot Tehsil
- Syeda Abida Hussain
- Ghulam Bibi Bharwana
- Syeda Sughra Imam
- Makhdoomzada Syed Asad Hayat
- Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat
- Rai Sarfaraz Ahmed Bhatti
- Syed Raza Ali Bukhari
- Sheikh Waqas Akram
- Moulana Mohammed Ahmed Ludhianvi