NA 122: May the best man win

LAHORE: After much hype—prolonged dharnas, an election tribunal verdict and angry bouts by the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf Chief—re-election in NA122 and PP-147 are finally taking place.

Election fever is high in Lahore, with party flags hosted all over the city. As the day sets—polling results will prove how popular each party is in the city.

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

At the closely monitored NA 122, Aleem Khan from PTI and Ayaz Sadiq from PML-N are at war. Voting will continue from 9:00am onwards.

Khan is president of the PTI Lahore chapter and business man who owns several construction projects in the city. Previously, he was affiliated with the Pakistan Muslim League- Quaid and has a history of loosing elections—except once when he won the 2003 by-election from PP-147.

Ayaz Sadiq, now 60, is a veteran politician—who hails from Kasur. Interestingly he started his political career from Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf in 1996. Sadiq and Imran Khan were friends at Atchison College—but politics did not go well with them—and Sadiq resigned.

In the year 2002, Sadiq contested elections from NA122, on a PML-N ticket and defeated Imran Khan by a landslide majority. He won the 2008 election from the same constituency. And then in 2013—he contested against Imran Khan and won again.

This significant victory in the heart of Lahore—made him speaker for the National Assembly. In August, this year an election tribunal de-seated Sadiq on charges of election rigging.

NA-122 comprises Samanabad, Ichra, Shadman, Shah Jamal, Garhi Shahu, Dharam pura and Upper Mall. The area lies in the heart of Lahore with commercial markets and educational institutes dotting the lanes. It is a middle class locality.

According to the poll conducted by Gallup Pakistan in NA-122 in September, out of the sample who was surveyed, 36% favoured PTI, while 51% favoured PML-N.

When Gallup conducted the poll in October, 37% favoured PTI, while 46% favoured the PML-N.

It is a tough competition. May the best man win.