City votes for its future

LAHORE: The provincial capital is all set for polls to decide the occupants of 14 National Assembly and 30 provincial assembly seats.

Banners, streamers as well as portraits of party heads and contesting candidates are plastered all over the city ahead of the 2018 General Elections which is all set for Wednesday (today).

Political parties have already set up camps outside polling stations, while the election staff has dispatched election material amid stringent security. Law enforcing agencies, including the Pakistan Army, Punjab Rangers and Punjab Police have taken charge of polling stations as one of the biggest electoral battles is going to play out in the provincial capital.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif, former National Assembly speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, former federal ministers Khawaja Saad Rafique and Mohammad Pervaiz Malik are contesting elections from Lahore, besides many other notable names.

All major contenders of main stream political parties, including the PML-N and the PTI, are hoping for big success.

Security personnel check passers-by a day ahead of polls.  PHOTO: NNI/ONLINE

Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) data shows that the NA-124 is the largest constituency in terms of population and area. It has been carved out of the old city area and has 533,497 registered voters.

Former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif’s son, Hamza Shahbaz, is the main contender for NA-124. No major popular candidate is contesting against him.

On the other hand, NA-135 has emerged as the smallest constituency of the city with 256,481 registered voters. The main competition for this area is expected between PML-N’s Malik Saiful Malook Khokhar and PTI’s Malik Karamat Bhatti. Both candidates belong to the same caste and are hopeful for a big win.

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For NA-123, there are 405,583 registered voters, including 230,950 male and 174,633 female voters. Popular candidates from this constituency include PML-N’s Muhammad Riaz, PTI’s Wajid Azeem and independent Humayun Akhtar Khan who has recently joined PTI.

NA-125 has 485,624 registered voters, including 268,154 men and 217,470 women. For this constituency, several other candidates are in the running.  PTI’s Dr Yasmin Rashid is in pole position to take the seat following the disqualification of PML-N’s Maryam Nawaz. Disgruntled Nawaz leaugers Syed Zaeem Hussain Qadri and Muhammad Ajasim Sharif are also contesting elections for this seat as independent candidates.

In NA-126, polling arrangements have been made for 443,729 registered voters, including 268,154 male and 217,470 female voters. Similarly, NA-127 has 442,729 voters among who there are 241,474 men and 201,255 women. PTI’s Jamshed Iqbal Cheema and his wife Musarat Jamshed are contesting as independents among several other less popular candidates.


For NA-128, polling arrangements have been made for a total of 345,763 registered voters, including 197,264 men and 148,499 women. PML-N Sheikh Rohail Asghar, PTI’s Ejaz Ahmad Diayal and independent Sohail Shaukat Butt are the popular candidates in this constituency.

For NA-129, a total 404,802 registered voters will exercise their right to vote, including 221,756 men and 183,046 women. PTI Central Punjab President Abdul Aleem Khan and former National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq are the main contenders from this constituency, besides several independent and less popular candidates.

For NA-130, which has 483,914 voters, including 256,197 men and 227,717 women, PML-N’s Khawaja Ahmad Hassaan, PTI’s Shafqat Mahmood and Muthida Majlis-e-Amal’s Liaqat Baloch are popular candidates.

The total number of registered voters for NA-131 is 364,213 among who 165,514 are women. Tough competition is being expected between PTI Chairman Imran Khan and PML-N’s Khawaja Saad Rafiq.

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There are 315,104 registered voters in NA-132, including 125,712 women. PPP’s Samina Khalid Ghurki and PTI’s Chaudhry Muhammad Mansha Sindhu are the main contenders for this seat.

For NA-133, tough competition is being expected between PTI’s Ejaz Ahmad Chaudhry and PML-N’s Pervaiz Malik. Among those in the fray for this seat are former PML-N leader Zaeem Hussain Qadri, who is contesting as an independent candidate, and Chaudhry Muhammad Aslam Gill of PPP.

NA-134 has 270,783 voters include 114,921 women. Similarly, NA-136 has a total of 298,747registered voters.

The ECP has established a total of 3,887 polling stations in the city, including 1,230 for male voters, 1,261 for female voters and 1,496 are combined.

As many as 11,552 polling booths have been set up for which polling staff comprising over 40,000 personnel to perform duties. The election staff has received ballot boxes, ballot paper signs, magnetic ink, stationery and other material. The ECP has printed over 5.6 million ballot papers for Lahore.

Although the candidates of MMA, Tehreek-e-Labaik, Tehreek-e-Allah-o-Akbar, JUI-F and independents are in the running, the real contest is expected between PML-N and PTI.

In 2013, the PML-N, under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif, won 12 NA seats from the city out of a total 13. PTI’s Shafqat Mahmood managed to secure the only other seat.

More than 35,000 policemen, 50 DSPs and 200 inspectors, under the supervision of 25 SPs, would perform duties to maintain law and order and ensure peace during the elections.

The policemen, along with personnel of the Pakistan Army and Rangers, would perform security duties at all polling stations of the city. The polling stations will also be monitored through CCTV cameras and aerial surveillance.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2018.

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