NA-120 by-poll: No cakewalk expected for either party


–Kulsoom Nawaz unlikely to win with big margin

–Residents of Nisbat Road allege intimidation, harassment by PML-N


LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is unlikely to bag a landslide win in the NA-120 constituency this time, even though the party has won this seat thrice with a big margin in the last two decades, a survey of the constituency conducted by Pakistan Today revealed on Thursday.

Though the PML-N still enjoys the traditional support of the people residing in the area for decades, its rival Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is likely to put up a tough fight as it has been campaigning quite aggressively in the constituency. The Milli Muslim League (MML), the political face of Jammatud Dawa, has also spread in every nook and corner of NA-120 and workers of the party, carrying the final voter lists in hand, are doing door-to-door campaign. Considering their organised efforts in the constituency, MML has a chance to secure the third position in the by-election.

Interestingly, PML-N does not enjoy the public sympathies which it anticipated after the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The areas in NA-120 constituency include Sanda, Shamnagar, Chauburji, Islamapura, Santnagar, Rajgarh, Riwaz Garden, Mozang, Lake Road, Lower Mall, New Anarkali, Lytton Road, Queens Road, Hall Road, Cooper Road, Mayo Hospital, Urdu Bazaar, Bilal Gunj, Ravi Colony, Kasurpura, Khokhar Town and Mominpura.

In the elections of 2002, PML-N’s Pervez Malik won MNA seat from NA-120, whereas Bilal Yaseen became MNA in 2008. In the General Elections of 2013, Nawaz Sharif defeated PTI’s Dr Yasmin Rashid, though she managed 52,000 votes, the highest scored by any candidate against the chief of the PML-N.

The by-poll in NA-120 will be held on September 17.

Muhammad Saeed, a resident of Beadon Road, said that he does not support either party. However, he said, “I will vote for the PML-N since they are doing development work in the area. The PTI is hell bent to stop this work instead of forcing the government to do the work. Why should I vote for PTI or other parties?”

Muneer Akhtar, also a resident of Beadon Road, said that MPA Majid Zahoor and Commerce Minister Pervaiz Malik frequently visit the area. “Azam Electronics owned by Commerce Minister Pervaiz Malik is in the area and he comes there to solve our problems.”

Muhammad Yaqub, a resident of Nisbat Road, said he will not vote for PML-N this time.

“We voted for PML-N thrice but got nothing in return,” he said, adding that the local PML-N leaders have resorted to intimidation and harassment of PTI supporters. “PML-N leaders are calling our elders and complaining about our participation in PTI rallies,” he claimed.

Dost Muhammad, also a resident of Nisbat Road, levelled similar accusations.

Qandeel, a resident of Islampura who runs a crockery shop with her husband in Islampura Bazaar, said that she will vote for the PTI’s Yasmin Rashid. “We know the PTI will also do nothing in the area but at least we should give it a chance,” she added.

Muhammad Afzal, a resident of Karim Park, said both the PTI and PML-N have approached him for votes. He said he is still undecided about which candidate to vote for.

Imran Afzal, a resident of Sheish Mahal Road, said he will vote for the PTI this time.

“There are 14 votes in my family and they all will go to PTI,” he said.

Majority of residents in Mohni Road said that they won’t vote for the PML-N this time. “There is no clean drinking water here. Streets and roads were last re-built during the era of Pervez Musharraf. Punjab Food Minister Bilal Yasin came here last night to offer Maghrib prayers for the first time in four years. Otherwise, he never visits the area.”

“There is no clean drinking water here. Streets and roads here were last remodelled during the era of Pervez Musharraf. Punjab Food Minister Bilal Yasin came here last night to offer Maghrib prayers for the first time in four years. Otherwise, he never visits the area,” they 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 has worked in the area. PPP’s era was the worst in which not even a single street was renovated. Therefore, only PML-N should not be blamed for not doing work. In fact, no one works when he is in power,” he said.