Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Lahore President Samina Khalid Ghurki is expected to meet a tough competition in NA-130, a constituency dominated by influential political families.
Awans, Butts, Ghurkis, Diyals and Dogras are some important families that dominate politics in the NA-130 which comprises 12-and-a-half Lahore union councils and borders India. About 350,000 voters are registered in the constituency where a majority of the population is rural. Some villages of the constituency including Wagha, Burki, Hadiara, Thatha Tararan, Qalia Jewan Singh, Thapura, Banochack, Ghurki, Sanakey, Lalo, Diyal and Bhaseen are along the border with India.
Apart from PPP‘s Ghurki, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has fielded Sohail Shoukat Butt, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Inasaf (PTI) has put forward Talib Sindhu while the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) has given a ticket to Chaudhry Manzoor Gujjar to contest elections from the constituency.
Most people in the area belong to the low-income groups including mechanics, electricians, skilled or unskilled masons, carpenters and cobblers.
Former caretaker prime minister Malik Meraj Khalid and JI’s Qazi Hussain Ahmed contested elections from the area.
Muhammad Asghar Ghurki became MNA in 1985 in general elections, Malik Miraj Khalid of the PPP won in 1988, PML’s Ashiq Diyal won the constituency in 1990, PPP’s Khalid Ghurki in 1993, Ashiq Diyal as an independent candidate won in 1997 and Samina Khalid Ghurki was elected twice in 2002 and 2008 from the same constituency.
The PML-N had not given a ticket to any candidate in the last three elections (1997, 2002 and 2008) and even this time its candidate is considered weak, while the PPP has remained the popular party.
The Diyals have allied themselves with the Ghurki family and have a ticket for PP-158 after refusal of tickets from the PML-N. PML-N’s Sohail Shaukat Butt has been defeated in the past by the PPP nominee from the PP-157 seat.
Heavy load shedding in the area during the past five years seems to be the biggest factor against the two-time winner Samina Ghurki.
JI’s candidate Gujjar is popular in rural areas. He has the support of his biradari and has been twice elected as nazim from Lakhodar (union council-42). Holding an engineering degree, the JI candidate is seen as strong.
The NA-130 constituency has two provincial constituencies, PP-157 and PP-158. In PP-157, the PML-N has put forward Rana Tajammul while Hammad Sarwar is running on a PTI ticket and Babar Sohail Butt on PPP’s while the JI has fielded Amer Jalil. Tajammul is the outgoing MPA but his popularity is on the decline as he was inaccessible to the public, according to locals. The PTI’s candidate however has chances.
In PP-158, the PML-N candidate is Malik Ghulam Habib, a former PPP MPA from the area, while PTI’s ticket holder Tahir Majid Mayo has served as a UC nazim in the past and has the support of the Mayo baradari which is in majority in the constituency. PPP’s candidate Naveed Ashiq Diyal was a former PML-Q MPA who joined the PPP a week back, while the JI’s candidate Amer Hayat Bajwa is not weak at all. All competitors are strong and the competition will be very close.