Tough contest is expected between Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan and PML-N candidate Sardar Ayaz Sadiq on NA-122 during the forthcoming general election. Both the PTI and the PML-N are making all-out effort to secure this important seat.
The PML-N’s Ayaz Sadiq won the election from this seat twice, while Imran Khan had lost this seat against Ayaz Sadiq in 2002 elections. Ayaz Sadiq bagged 37,531 votes, while Imran Khan could not get more than 18500 votes in the 2002 election. The PTI and the JI boycotted the last election under the banner of All Pakistan Democratic Movement (APDM), while the PML-N which was also part of the APDM, contested the election defying the APDM’s decision and Ayaz Sadiq won this NA seat with significant margin, securing 79,506 votes in the election 2008.
The PPPP candidate Mian Omer Misbah-ul-Rehman bagged 24,963 votes and Mohammed Amin Chaudhry (PML-Q) 12,605 votes.
The major vicinities falling in NA-122 are: Railway Colony, Dars Baray Mian, Crown Park, Mian Mir, Bibi Pak Daman, Racecourse Park, Shah Kamal, Pakki Thathi, Samanabad, Nawankot, Rehmanpura, Ichhra and Garhi Shahu, Baja Lines, Mayo Garden, Zaman Park, part of Canal Road, previously part of NA-94, and Shadman, Shah Jamal, GOR, and some areas of Multan Road.
It comprises of 16 union councils while the total number of registered voters in this constituency is 331,381out of which 176,749 are men and 154,632 are women. The number of polling stations in the constituency is 283.
The provincial metropolis is considered as political forte of the PML-N for last three decades. In the last election it bagged almost all seats except two seats won by the PPP. However, most people of this constituency are of the view that this time the situation is different as now people have third option in the shape of the PTI. They observe that Imran Khan secured a good numbers of votes from the same seat in 2002 when the PTI stood nowhere, but now it had emerged as a mainstream political party.
If Imran wins, he would manage to create a dent in the PML-N’s political castle and would be able to challenge three-decade-old legacy of the PML-N. In case of losing the seat it would be a big blow for the PTI.
The PML-N has launched aggressive campaign and the Sharifs are closely monitoring the election campaign in this constituency. Hamza Shahbaz is holding corner meetings to win public support for the PML-N candidate.
The PPP awarded ticket for this NA seat to Barrister Amir Hassan and Jamaat Islami (JI) fielded Ameer-ul-Azim. Muthida Deeni Mahaz awarded ticket to Hafiz Makhdoom, Pakistan Sunni Tehreek to Muhammad Imran Javaid, Awami Justice Party Pakistan to Mushtaq Ahmed Bhatti, Pakistan Justice Party to Malik Noor Muhammad Sarfraz Awan, APP Janab Sarkar Party Nawab Dr. Ambar Shahzada, Tehreek Tahaffuze Pakistan to Waheed Ahmed Khan and MQM Samia Naz.
Moreover, Fayaz Nazir, Muhammad Aslam Rao, Muhammad Awais Ijaz, Muhammad Shakil, Muhammad Naeem Mir, Mian Muhammad Liaqat, Junaid Murtaza and Shahenaz Laghari are contesting as independent candidates.
The residents of Garhi Shahu, Baja Lines, Mayo Garden, Habibullah Road, Dars Baray Mian which fall in the PP-147 are of the view that the PTI’s candidate Shoaib Siddiqi is not able to bring support for Imran Khan. In these areas, the position of the PML-N’s candidate seems to be better than Imran Khan, they observed. The position of the PTI chairman could have been stronger if the PTI Lahore President Abdul Aleem Khan was the candidate for this provincial assembly seat.
It is surprising that in this constituency from where the party chairman was contesting the election, the PTI was lacking door-to-door campaign as was claimed by the PTI leadership that the party volunteers would reach every single house across the country to deliver the party manifesto. Furthermore on part of Abdul Aleem Khan, who has good influence in these areas, he does not seem to be active as, during the survey, not a single person reported that Abdul Aleem Khan had approached them for vote.
Regarding the door-to-door campaign, the same is the situation in the PP-148 from where the PTI’s Aslam Iqbal is contesting against the PML-N candidate Akhtar Rasool. However, in the localities of PP-148 which include Racecourse Park, Shah Kamal, Pakki Thathi, Samanabad, Nawankot, Rehmanpura and Ichhra, the position of Imran Khan looks strong than the PML-N’s Ayaz Sadiq. People of the area are of the view that the PTI’s candidate for PP-148 will provide potential support to Imran Khan. Mainly Kamboh clan of Akhtar Rasool and Arian clan of Mian Aslam Iqbal are residing in the localities of PP-148. A good number of other biradris including Gujjar, Rajput and Jaat are also residing in these areas.
A few percent people seemed to be indifferent to the electioneering since they do not trust any of the contesting candidates. Whereas a good number of people from the area are still indecisive as who they should vote for. They are carefully analyzing the situation and would vote for a better candidate regardless of the party affiliation.
There was a mixed response of majority people of the NA-122, when asked whom they would vote for. A good number of people are of the view that the country was economically strong during the PML-N regimes. There was no load-shedding, no closure of industries, businessmen, traders, workers and farmers were prosperous during the PML-N rule. They opined that the PML-N was the only party which could put the country on the path to prosperity and had the ability to combat the menace of terrorism.
On the other hand, a large number of people want change. They said PML-N and PPP had been tested and both the parties ruled the country several times but they did nothing for the development of the country. The gap between the rich and the poor had increased during their regimes. The leadership of PML-N and PPP ha filled their own pockets and flourished their businesses. They ruined every institution of the country. Earlier people had no choice. Now people have choice and, at least, one chance should be given to the PTI. They believed that, among the present leadership, Imran was the only person who had the ability to salvage the nation from all her sufferings.
It has been observed that a large number of PPP workers, instead of supporting the PPP’s candidate Barrister Amir Hassan, are considering voting for Imran Khan as they strongly believe that President Asif Ali Zardari’s policies had damaged the party. Imran had hand on the people’s pulse like Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto as he too talks about the problems of the common people, they observed. This situation has put the PPP’s candidate in vulnerable position.
Similarly, the display of banners, flexes and portraits of JI’s Ameer-ul-Azeem reveal that he is focusing on only PP-147 instead of NA-122. In this situation it is yet to be seen where the JI vote would go.
Likewise, National Assembly seat, close contest of provincial assembly seats of PP-147 and PP-148 is also expected among the PML-N and PTI candidates.
PP-147: In this constituency Mohsin Latif is contesting election on PML-N ticket, Shoaib Siddiqi on PTI ticket, Iftikhar Shahid on PPP ticket and Amer-ul-Azeem on JI ticket.
However, real contest is between the PML-N and the PTI candidates only while people even do not know about contesting candidates of PPP and JI. Mohsin Latif, nephew of Kalsoom Nawaz, who had won last general election on this constituency had relative edge on Shoaib Siddiqi. On the other hand, Shoaib Siddiqi is a unknown candidate as Aleem Khan has sacrificed his ticket to his fair weather friend and is trying his level best to win this seat. In the past, Aleem Khan won this seat in 2002 election but lost last election to Mohsin Latif despite huge development work ensured by him in his constituency. Mohsin Latif begs 29820 votes in 2008 election. Ijaz Qayyum Butt of of PPP was runner up in 2008 election in PP-147 with 9784 votes while Aleem Khan from PML-Q stood third with 9493 votes.
The locals of the areas believe that if Aleem Khan contests election from PP-147 he could win the election and this edge also replicate to Imran Khan NA-122 contest. But now the position of Mohsin Latif is better as Shoaib Siddiqi did not approach the majority of voters of the area. It is important to mention here that Aleem Khan had won 2002 election from this constituency and become a provincial minister too. However, following return of PPP and PML-N leadership from exile, hatred against Musharraf had made Aleem Khan face the wrath of public and lose election.
PP-148: Again an interesting election contest is expected in PP-148 between the PML-N Akther Rasool and PTI Mian Aslam while PPP Naeem Zafar and JI Haji Riaz-ul-Hassan are standing nowhere in the survey. Both PML-N and PTI candidates are locals of Samnabad while Mian Aslam has advantage over Akther Rasool who remained intact with PML-Q for the last ten years. The PML-N candidate Hafiz Noman had won the election in 2008 begging 40975 votes while Mian Aslam Iqbal was runner up and 16734 were cast to him and PPP candidate Tahir Khalique stood third with cast vote of 8892.
Election of this consistency is interesting in a sense that both turncoat politicians are at loggerheads. However, local of the areas believed Mian Aslam Iqbal has advantage over Akhter Rasool.
The locals remembered Mian Aslam Iqbal due to his service and development work done by him during his Nazimship and Provincial Minister in Ch Pervaiz Elahi regime. Likewise, Aleem Kahn he also faces the public reaction in 2008 election and lost against the PML-N candidate Hafiz Numan. But the locals of the areas still believe that if Aslam Iqbal contests 2008 election as independent candidate he could win his seat. However, this time, he again gets an opportunity to gain trust of the locals and is contesting election on a popular party ticket, the locals said.