Stakes are high for by-polls battle today | Pakistan Today

Stakes are high for by-polls battle today

  • If Sardar Ayaz Sadiq wins, it would cost PTI dearly and nullify its claims that it can dislodge PML-N from ‘Takht-e-Lahore’ and that massive rigging took place during the 2013 elections. On the other hand, if Aleem Khan wins, it would give credibility to Imran Khan’s claim of massive rigging by the PML-N
  • Observers expect clashes due to inciting rhetoric used by both PTI and PML-N candidates

Stakes are high for the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidates, as voting for the NA-122, NA-144 and PP-147 by-polls is slated to begin today (Sunday).

PML-N’s candidate, former National Assembly speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq is facing PTI’s Abdul Aleem Khan, who has been described by Imran Khan as his secret weapon.

Both the parties have spent massive resources during their election campaigns. Political observers believe that if someone challenges their campaign expenses, the Election Commission would find it difficult for the two candidates to prove that they remained within the prescribed limits.

The rhetoric being used by the two candidates is also a problem, some observers believe. The allegations and counter allegations, along with abusive language being employed by leaders of both the parties, could result in a law and order problem during the polling.

While PTI leaders repeatedly brought up charges of massive corruption against PML-N, the ruling party returned the allegations with claims that PTI has ties with India and Jews. Observers believe that workers from both PML-N and PTI are highly charged and a small incident could lead to a major confrontation.

The result of NA-122 would be a clear political signal.

If Sardar Ayaz Sadiq wins, it would cost PTI dearly and nullify its claims that it can dislodge PML-N from ‘Takht-e-Lahore’ and that massive rigging took place during the 2013 elections. On the other hand, if Aleem Khan wins, it would give credibility to Imran Khan’s claim of massive rigging by the PML-N and also reveal the chinks in the ruling party’s armour as PML-N has traditionally won the seat in the past elections.

At the same time, the credibility of the Election Commission will also be at stake; it has employed the services of the Army and Rangers, which will be deployed inside and outside all polling stations to ensure transparency and security.

The contest in NA-122 is a straight one between the PML-N and PTI, while the country’s opposition party candidate i.e. PPP’s Barrister Mian Aamir Hassan, is nowhere to be seen.

The Election Commission has finalised all arrangements to ensure that by-elections are held without a hitch, and handed over election material to the presiding officers.  Seventeen candidates are in the NA-122 arena.

In NA-144 Okara, five candidates are contesting; they include PML-N’s Ali Arif Chaudhry and PTI’s Muhammad Ashraf Khan Sohna.

In PP-147 Lahore, the main candidates are PML-N’s Mohsin Latif, PTI’s Muhammad Shoaib Siddique and PPP’s Advocate Iftikhar Shahid.



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