PTI campaign office personnel working day in, day out for Imran
Rs500 for participants in PTI bike rally
LAHORE: While the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is apparently in a strong position all across Pakistan, Lahore’s constituency NA-131 is still not a walk in the park for Imran Khan as opponent candidate from Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) Khawaja Saad Rafique has launched an aggressive campaign in the area.
A total 16 candidates are in the race from this constituency. They include Jawwad Ahmed (Barabri Party of Pakistan), Khawaja Saad Rafique (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz), Zaiba Ehsan (Pakistan Muslim League), Shoaibullah Cheema (Independent), Tahir Aslam (Pakistan Sunni Tehreek), Asim Mehmood (Pakistan People’s Party), Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi (PTI), Faheem Ahmed Khan Lodhi (Independent), Muhammad Jahangir Dogar (Independent), Muhammad Mudasir (Pakistan Justice and Democratic Party), Muzaffar Ali (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf –Gulalai), Mian Zahid Islam Anjum (Independent), Nadeem Ahmed (Independent), Waqar Nadeem Warraich (Muttahida Majlis –e-Amal Pakistan) and Humayun Akhtar Khan (Independent).
The NA-131 has a total population of 7,72,182 and mostly covers the posh areas of RA Bazar, Nishat Colony, Cavalry, Walton, Defence, Kamahan, Bedian Road, Airport, Bhatta Chowk and Chungi Amar Sadhu.
Following the 6th population census conducted in the country, the list of delimitation was issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in which the share of Punjab was decreased by seven seats but one seat was added in the share of Lahore. NA-131 was added to the city, raising the number of constituencies from 13 to 14.
A real contest is expected between PTI Chairman Imran Khan and Khawaja Saad Rafique of the PML-N.
PTI central Punjab President Aleem Khan is also contesting from this area on provincial assembly seat PP-162.
People with less education and less income in relatively impoverished areas are staunch supporters of the PML-N and praise Khawaja Saad Rafique for his good work in the area while people in the posh areas with high income are enthusiastic for Imran Khan and the PTI.
Ahmed Ali from Nishat Colony said he would vote for Khawaja Saad Rafique.
“I am neither supporter of the PML-N nor Nawaz Sharif. But I am voter and supporter of Saad Rafique who has done a tremendous job for the area. He built boys and girls colleges as well constructed roads and flyovers in the area.”
Mubarak Khan from the same locality supported Ali’s views but said he would vote for the PML-N and Nawaz Sharif due to their narrative and sacrifices for Pakistan. “Nawaz Sharif is a brave leader and always brought progress and prosperity in the country. Therefore, we should support him now because he is in jail. He said Imran Khan was no saint who was leveling baseless allegations against him.”
Most of the youngsters in the area said they would vote for the PTI as Imran Khan has the vision to bring change in the country. Older people however said that they would still vote for the PML-N and Nawaz Sharif.
Many people also said they their enthusiasm for former ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif declined but were lending support to Saad Rafique as he had done many development projects in the area.
On the other hand, PTI has also launched an aggressive campaign in the area and PTI supporters are canvassing door-to-door in the area. PTI Lahore President Waleed Iqbal is the campaign in-charge in NA-131. According to locals in Cavalry Ground, PTI campaign office personnel are giving Rs500 for participating in the motorcycle rally which is held every day at afternoon.
Former Member Provincial Assembly (MPA) and PTI leader Shoaib Siddique said he is sure of PTI victory from NA-131.
“We have considered this seat as confirm. Khawaja Saad Rafique is nowhere in the constituency. People in the constituency are educated and they are fans of Imran Khan.”
According to his estimates, Imran Khan will win with a 10,000 votes lead.