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September 16, 2017

Majority of traders to vote for PML-N


September 16, 2017

LAHORE :Majority of business hubs located in NA-120 constituency in Lahore have clarity about victory of the PML-N candidate Begum Kulsoom Nawaz in by-polls on Sunday - seat vacated after former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by Supreme Court in Panama case.

Business activities are slow in the wholesale and major markets of NA-120 due to multiple reasons, and by-poll is one of the reasons, besides Eid was celebrated recently is another. An extensive survey of NA-120 constituency to discuss the expected outcomes, problems, issues and concerns of the business community and locals of the areas to depict the picture of campaign revealed that the PML-N despite all odds are leading while Milli Muslim League (MML) from out of nowhere has come in the limelight besides PTI which is the only party contesting election with all energies. The presence of PPP candidate is hardly seen while Jamaat-e-Islami candidate has relatively more appearance in the constituency through publicity materials, banners, flexes and stickers.

However, the PML-N has been for first time facing real election competition situation in its Fort. The party has easily won the election of the seat in Musharraf regime in 2002 when PML-N leadership, including Sharif brothers were in exile and party was almost wiped out. Then, the PML-N nominated candidate Pervaiz Malik had won the native seat of PML-N is currently Commerce Minister and completely involved in election campaign. Pervaiz Malik is also a businessman with respect and good repute among the business community of Lahore. He always remains in contact with them wich is an added advantage to the PML-N from them. The voters of whole constituency mainly traders are under his influence.

When asked about when last time Nawaz Sharif visited the constituency, the traders expressed their concern that he did not visit the area, but they have logical justification that the representatives of him are available to them to serve them in need of hour.

Despite all social media campaign which has adversely damaged the PML-N family and people say them thieves or corrupt, but they are still willing to vote Begum Kulsoom Nawaz. They believed that social media is unreal while ballot box will give answer to allegations.

The areas in NA-120 constituency include Band Road, Chohan Park, Sanda, Sham Nagar, Chauburji, Islamapura, Sanat Nagar, Rajgarh, Riwaz Garden, Mozang, Lake Road, Lower Mall, New Anarkali, Lytton Road, Queen’s Road, Hall Road, Beadon Road, Cooper Road, Mayo Hospital, Bansaan Wala Bazaar, Urdu Bazaar, Abdali Chowk, Aibak Road, Akbari Road, Circular Road, Bilal Gunj, Mohni Road, Ravi Colony, Kasurpura, Karim Park, Khokhar Town and Mominpura. In 2008, Bilal Yaseen became MNA who is currently MPA from the constituency. In 2013 general elections, Nawaz Sharif won while PTI’s Dr Yasmin Rashid also contesting in by-polls secured 52,000 votes.

The PML-N is likely to win by-polls from Beadon Road with clear majority. Saeed, a small trader in Beadon Road electric market and resident of area first said all are thieves. But, I will vote for PML-N. ‘Vote is for Nawaz, he is not morally corrupt’, he believed. Besides, he disclosed the PTI has attempted to stop the development work in the areas on account of election pre-poll rigging. But the development work started well before even Supreme Court decision, he said, adding this shows the mindset of the PTI people.

Complaining about slow business activities, he said all traders of Mall Road and connected markets are disturbed and annoyed with politicians due to political activities on The Mall. We cannot do business while buyers avoid coming here due to unexpected traffic congestion as a result of any sudden protest and rally, he said. No politicians ever think to resolve this issue, he lamented. He suggested dedicating a place somewhere in Shahdara for protesters and make The Mall protest-free road.

Awais Rana, another local trader in same area, said Pervaiz Malik used to visit the constituency regularly. Besides, elected MPA Majid Zahoor also come and listen to the issues of areas.

Muneer Akthar, another resident and trader of same vicinity questioned why Dr Yasmin Rashid has not visited before. He said she is daughter-in-law of Dr Ghulam Nabi and what is his service for area. He disclosed that MML candidate was distributing energy savers in the area too for votes.  

Mohsin, a young voter from Beadon Road, run a milk shop believed that by-polls would be transparent as Rangers are deployed besides biometric will be used. ‘There is a huge difference in social media and face to face campaign and result of Sunday election will clear many things’, he believed.

In Gawalmandi, Nisbat Road, Muhammad Yaqub, a tea stall owner, said the PML-N family is thieve and the people were blind voters of party before 2013. He claimed Kh Nadeem Wayne, a local PML-N leader and elected Chairman in the UC was threatening the locals who are supporting the PTI.

Abid on Mayo Hospital Road said the Gawalmandi area is traditionally PML-N stronghold. He said here in market all are not residents of the NA-120 but those who are locals are supporting the PML-N. However, some 10 percent people are also supporting PTI, he said. But there is no division in market on political basis, he mentioned.

Afzal, a trader in Urdu Bazzar, said he is not resident of NA-120 but apparent situation is in favour of PML-N. The PTI candidate is also using all energies but traders are with PML-N. He said no clear message is given by the trade unions and Anjuman Tajiran. However, all Anjuman Tajiran is already with the PML-N and they are encouraging the traders to hang the PML-N flexes outside their shops.

A buyer from Sanda at his shop said that impression of stopping any party candidate is wrong. He said every party is doing door-to-door campaign. Additionally, no new development work is started by the Punjab government after by-polls were announced except the patch works in streets by the district government. Other uplift schemes were already underway and are not completing quickly, he believed.

Saqib, a shop owner in Anarkali, said that Anarkali traders are already in alliance with the PML-N in Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI). So the market is also supporting the PML-N, he said. Furthermore, he said majority of people in Anarkali Bazaar is not the voters of NA-120 but their sympathies are with PML-N.

Imran from Biala Gunj Bazaar said Bhalli Butt is also using his influence to get vote for PTI but MPA and Food Minister, Bilal Yasin who is also resident of the area is actively meeting with the people for votes. He said after four years, Bilal Yasin is regularly visiting the vicinity along with local councillors and UC Chairmen, Vice-Chairmen to address the lasting issues.

Shoaib, a small shopkeeper on Mohni Road, said that despite 70 years, Pakistanis are still voting for basic civic facilities of sewerage, drinking water etc. He said he will vote for PTI. But I have no expectations from the PTI too. They are also same like PML-N politicians, he believed. He said the PTI losing candidate has also not contacted after last general election.

Muhammad Afzal, a resident of Karim Park, said both PTI and PML-N have approached him for votes. He said he is still undecided about the candidate to whom he will vote in by-polls. Imran Afzal, a resident of Sheish Mahal Road, said he will vote for the PTI this time. Our family has 14 votes and all will vote for PTI, he claimed.

Jamil, a resident of Mohni Road said there is no clean drinking water in the vicinity while streets and roads were last re-built during era of Pervez Musharraf. Now, Bilal Yasin came here last night to offer Maghrib prayers in four years. Otherwise, he never visited the area.

Mudassar, in Islampura Bazaar, said Nawaz Sharif never visited the area after winning the election in 2013. However, Majid Zahoor elected MPA, regularly visits here. He said division in Islampura Bazaar is very clear and PTI is also using all energies to get vote from here. However, he claimed that the PML-N will win the election. Furthermore, he said market union has not interferred in the politics but the leaders of Anjuman Tajiran are with PML-N, he claimed. He believed that losing of PML-N election from NA-120 will end the party politics and so insulting for Nawaz Sharif too.

Miss Qandeel, who runs a crockery shop with her husband in Islampura Bazaar, said she will vote for change. ‘We want change and this time we will vote for the PTI’, she said. However, she said that PTI will not going to change anything in Pakistan but at least it will give her a taste of change by casting vote to PTI.

Mehmood in Rajgarh Bazaar said that no one from PTI and other contesting candidate have approached them for vote. He said they will vote for PML-N which is dominating in the area.  Muhammad Musthaq in Riwaz Garden said the local representatives of PML-N are available to address the local issues which matters a lot. ‘We can easily hook them for our local issues such as sewerage blockage, police and other matters’, he said.

Abuzar Ghaffari, 20, a resident of Mozang, said he would vote for the PML-N since his elders were doing the same for last 30 years. ‘No one worked in the area. The PPP era was the worst in which not even a single street was renovated. Therefore, only the PML-N should not be blamed for not doing work. In fact, no one works when he is in power’, he added.