Problems remain in NA-120 despite being home constituency of Sharifs


LAHORE: The political temperature of the provincial capital has started rising, as by-elections are to be held in NA-120, the elected constituency of former PM Nawaz Sharif, which has been vacant since his disqualification in Supreme Court’s verdict.

On Saturday, Nawaz Sharif had announced that Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif would be his successor from this very constituency, in a bid to keep their home constituency within the domain of the Sharif family.

The NA-120, which was carved out of NA-95 and NA-96 in 2002 when constituencies were redrawn, is considered the home constituency of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) since the time Nawaz Sharif entered politics back in 1980. Nawaz has been getting elected from this area since the first time he became a member of the Punjab Assembly in 1985 in non-party elections during the military regime of General Zia-ul-Haq. In the 1988 general elections, he contested for National Assembly and Punjab Assembly’s constituencies. However, he withdrew from NA-95 by choosing provincial assembly’s seat to become chief minister of the largest province. Then again, in the general elections of 1990, he won from NA-95 and became prime minister for the first time and in 1993 he went to National Assembly as leader of the opposition.

In 1997, Nawaz Sharif was re-elected from this constituency and became the prime minister of the Pakistan for the second time. In 2002, when Nawaz was facing exile in Saudi Arabia and wanted to contest the elections from the same constituency, his nomination papers were rejected. However, the seat was won by PML-N’s Malik Muhammad Pervez. In the 2008 elections, Nawaz was in the country but was disqualified to contest the elections in view of his conviction in the plane hijacking case which was later scrapped by the Supreme Court, declaring him innocent.

Subsequently, in 2013, Nawaz Sharif won from the NA-120 constituency after defeating PTI’s Dr Yasmin Rashid and became the prime minister of Pakistan for the third time.

After maintaining control over this constituency, it is an open secret that the constituency facing a number of issues which have to be dealt with on a priority basis.

A score of important and famous locations and areas fall under this constituency like Punjab Assembly, Mall Road, Hall Road, Mozang, Temple Road, Mohni Road, Bedian Road, Sanda, Islampura, Lakshmi Chowk, Chuburji, Lahore High Court, Gawal Mandi, Railway Road, Lyton Road and others.

While passing through this constituency, one can see the prevalent lack of facilities in the area. Pathetic sanitation conditions, improper road infrastructure, unavailability of clean drinking water and below average medical and educational facilities in NA-120, are some of the problems that people of the constituency have experienced over the previous four years.

Hall Road, which is one of the busiest commercial areas of Lahore, is facing a severe lack of cleanliness. Standstill water on different roads of the constituency can be seen due to improper roads. Water shortage has also been witnessed, especially in the summer season.

Talking to Pakistan Today, a resident of Mozang said that the water filtration system was out of order since long and the condition of other installed water filtration plants in the constituency was also no better. He said that the water sanitation system of the area has not been fixed up as they often receive contaminated water.

A resident of Mohni Road highlighted an old issue of a jumble of live electric wires on the street poles, which has not been resolved, despite several complaints registered with LESCO.

As most of the area of the constituency consists of markets and shops, the encroachments are the permanent hurdle for the movement of people, which often become the cause of traffic jams.

Several localities of the constituency have narrow streets identified by stinky air, mosquitoes and other insects, open manholes, and dirty water.

However, after the announcement of Shahbaz Sharif’s nomination from this constituency, orders for immediate development works have been issued.