–PTI supporters take to roads, chant ‘Maryam’s father is a thief’
–PML-N workers reject Khan-led party’s victory, express satisfaction that Lahore is still League’s ‘stronghold’
–Yasmeen Rashid completes ‘hat-trick of defeats’ following close contest against PML-N’s Waheed Alam Khan
LAHORE: As the general elections results continue to pour in, Lahore’s citizenry, keeping up with traditions, witnessed a massive victory rally on Wednesday night.
Thousands of party workers and supporters thronged to Liberty Chowk in light of the electoral victory that the nation has granted to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan.
Rally participants shouted slogans such as “prime minister Imran Khan”.
Moreover, PTI workers and supporters also chanted slogans against convicted former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz.
Videos recorded by Pakistan Today‘s reporter reveal rally participants chanting, “Maryam’s father is a thief”.
Shahzeb Ahmed, a 60-year-old, told Pakistan Today, “I have voted for PML-N all my life and this party has only indulged in corruption and this is why I voted for PTI this time.”
“Imran Khan will work for us because he is not corrupt,” he added.
Pakistan Today spoke to Farooq Shehbaz, a youngster shouting anti-PML-N slogans, who said, “I graduated four years ago and I still do not have a job.”
“Because of corruption, the economy suffers and graduates do not have opportunities to work and this is why I support Imran, because he is not corrupt,” Shehbaz added.
A sub-inspector wearing a PTI shirt told Pakistan Today on the condition of anonymity, “The previous government treated the police department as if it was their personal housemaid.”
“My friends serving in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) are very happy; they say that no politician dares to interfere in police matters,” the officer added.
Salman, a member of the PTI’s student organisation, the Insaf Student Federation (ISF), explained to Pakistan Today, “I joined ISF and PTI because I believe that Imran Khan will bring change in the country.”
“I am here with my daughters because all of us support Imran Khan and we are very happy that by the grace of God, the PTI has finally won the general elections,” Yasir Irshad told Pakistan Today.
His 9-year-old daughter said, “Imran Khan is a good man and he will save us.”
“Imran Khan is not preparing his children to lead PTI after him unlike Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif and Asif Zardari,” said Muhammad Hussain, who works at a juice corner.
“My entire family voted for PML-N to get Nawaz out of jail but I voted for Imran Khan because he will change our country,” Hussain added.
The victory rally, in which workers and supporters participated in a large number, was not organised by the PTI central command. The participants were jubilant and some even exploded firecrackers.
There were only eight policemen on duty at the site and they were unable to reign in the people while citizens self-volunteered to conduct traffic.
Meanwhile, PML-N leaders and workers, on the other hand, “rejected” the results of the elections. As a majority of them protested against the alleged rigging carried out in Wednesday’s polls, others expressed the satisfaction that the party, maintaining its stronghold, had achieved success on some of the most crucial seats of the national assembly in Lahore.
“What has happened is unfortunate. But I am glad that Lahore has majorly rejected PTI and Imran Khan,” said Ijaz, a PML-N supporter while talking to this scribe. “I voted for tiger [PML-N] and will continue to do so no matter what happens or what others say.”
According to unofficial final results, among the NA seats won by PML-N in Lahore are NA-123, NA-124, NA-125, NA-127, NA-128, NA-129, NA-132, NA-133, NA-134 and NA-136, while PTI has secured NA-126, NA-130, NA-131 and NA-135.
Another PML-N voter, Zubair of Lahore’s NA-125 constituency, while speaking to Pakistan Today, said, “They [PTI] should know that a tiger is the most dangerous when wounded. PML-N having the lead in Lahore despite opponents’ propaganda shows that Lahore was, is and will always remain PML-N’s fort.”
He said that another “proof” of Lahore being the League’s stronghold was the fact that PTI’s candidate for his constituency, Dr Yasmeen Rashid, had completed a “hat-trick of defeats” after losing to PML-N’s Waheed Alam Khan.
It may be noted here that Yasmeen has lost to the PML-N-fielded candidate, who bagged 122,327 votes against the former’s 105,857. Yasmeen Rashid had earlier lost contests against PML-N candidates in general elections of 2013 and by-elections of September 11, 2017.
Amid the celebrations and hue and cry of “rigging”, PTI is all set to form its government in the centre, but the question remains that who will sit on the treasury benches of the Punjab Assembly. Till the filing of this report, both PTI and PML-N were contesting a tight race to the finish line with 121 and 126 seats, respectively.
With additional input by Abdullah Zafar