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November 18, 2015

PTI makes no significant canvassing in Phase-II polls


November 18, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan devoted two full days to campaign for local council elections in his native district of Mianwali while he spared no time for eleven other districts of Punjab where polling will also be held on Thursday in the second phase.
He paid special attention to Mianwali, from where he has always been elected to the National Assembly, so that he gets good results in the local bodies’ polls at least at his home ground although he has never lived there. He used to reside in Lahore before he shifted to Islamabad.
Imran Khan allocated equal time – two days – to electioneer in Sindh. But the Punjab, which had been under his focus for the last two years, did not figure in his campaign schedule for reasons best known to him.
He was elected to the National Assembly from NA-71 Mianwali in 2002. He repeated this result in the 2013 general elections. However, his nominee lost the by-election that was held after he vacated the seat for having won from three constituencies, the two others being from Rawalpindi and Peshawar. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) nominee Obaidullah Shadikhel had clinched this seat.
The PTI chief retained NA-56 Rawalpindi and also vacated NA-1 Peshawar, which the PTI candidate also lost to Ghulam Ahmed Bilour of the Awami National Party (ANP).
If Imran Khan chose not to campaign in Punjab in the second phase of local polls to extend a helping hand to his candidates, other top PTI leaders are also not known to have publicly canvassed hard. They also adopted a low key role. Even Punjab Organizer Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar is also quiet this time while he had undertaken a lot of activities during the first phase.
The PTI is struggling to improve on its previous dismal performance that emerged in the first segment of the electoral exercise, which has been spread over three phases for the first time to get rid of an extraordinary pressure and strain on the administrative

machinery, police and law enforcement agencies and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to organise the process smoothly and in a peaceful environment.
Looking at the districts where the polling will be held on November 19, it becomes clear that the PML-N had performed exceptionally well in these Punjab areas in the 2013 general elections while the PPP had carried the day in the Sindh districts where polling was held in the last parliamentary polls.
Thus, the districts falling in Punjab are considered the PML-N’s strongholds while the PPP has traditionally been winning in these Sindh areas.Considering the public perception created by the campaign waged by the PTI over the past two years in which it hit the PML-N very hard and also harshly attacked the PPP, it was believed by many people that Imran Khan’s squad would get a substantial share in the local councils specifically in Punjab, which has been his primary priority all the time. Sindh has never been on the preference list of the PTI or the PML-N. The PTI is unlikely to make any significant gains in Sindh.
Similarly, it is ruled out that the PML-N will be able to clinch any respectable number of seats in Sindh, the province to which it has paid no attention. The same fate awaits the PPP in Punjab.
However, knowing that Sindh is his most weak area, the PTI chief this time allocated two days for election campaign there.In Punjab, polling will be arranged in twelve districts including Khanewal, Sahiwal, Toba Tek Singh, Chiniot, Sargodha, Mianwali, Sheikhupura, Gujranwala, Hafizabad, Mandi Bahauddin, Attock and Jhelum.
The fourteen Sindh districts covered by the second phase are Matiari, Tando Allah Yar, Tando Mohammad Khan, Thatta, Sujawal, Badin, Hyderabad, Dadu, Jamshoro, Benaziriabad, Naushero Feroz, Mirpurkhas, Umerkot and Tharparkar.

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