Lahore - The electoral history of NA-124 points to mixed response from the electorate as they had been throwing up candidates for the National Assembly belonging to the major political parties.
This constituency has witnessed some interesting contests in the past among the heavy weights like Ch Aitzaz Ahsan, Sheikh Rohail Asghar and Hamayun Akhtar Khan.
NA-124 Lahore is mainly an urban constituency with very little rural area. It consists of areas like Mian Mir, Mustafabad, Ghaziabad, Shadipura, Salamatpura, Mughalpura, Harbanspura, Daroghawala, Rashidpura, Fateh Garh, Nabipura, Angoori Bagh, Sahuwari, Taj Bagh and Tajpura localities.
This constituency is identified with the name of Ch Aitzaz Ahsan who has been contesting elections from here since 1988. He was not in the contest in 2008 election because he was leading lawyers movement at that time.
The PPP has fielded Bushra Aitzaz, a retired Professor of English Literature. She is wife of Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, a big name in country’s politics. He is known as a politician and a lawyer of very high calibre.
Bushra is having an edge over other candidates. Since she had been teaching English literature in one of the leading women colleges in the City, Bushra has got a good number of female voters to her side who happen to be her ex-students. She is also banking on the vote bank of her husband,
Aitzaz Ahsan who is addressing her election rallies. Her popularity among female voters may place her in a better position in the final count.
Sheikh Rohail Asghar is a potential PML-N candidate who won last electoral contest from this constituency in 2008 elections, though in the absence of Aitzaz Ahsan. The speculations that PML-N may withdraw its candidate in favour of Bushra Aitzaz seem to have subsided now as Rohail has already launched an aggressive election campaign in the constituency. Internal rifts within the PML-N ranks may damage his vote bank in the constituency. A latest manifestation of this discord within the party was witnessed on Tuesday when two rival groups disrupted his election rally at Mughalpura. Rohail had to leave the venue after a brief address as the PML-N workers clashed with each other.
Though he is an old player in politics, but he would have to work really hard this time to retain his previous vote bank. He would also have to cope with the PTI factor missing in all the previous contests.
The PTI has awarded its ticket to Waleed Iqbal, a grand son of Allama Muhammad Iqbal. A Barrister by profession, Waleed would have to make extra efforts to win over the voters since he is not only a novice in politics, he would be competing with two very strong candidates, Rohail Asghar and Bushra Aitzaz, both having strong roots in the constituency. At this stage, it is very difficult to gauge his popularity in the constituency. Waleed is mainly relying on his party’s manifesto of ‘Change’.
Analysts believe that he could prove a spoiler for the PML-N candidate if he could not get enough votes to win the seat. In 2008, Sheikh Rohail Asghar of the PML-N secured 71,342 votes and won the election. Ayaz Imran of the PPPP ended as a runner up getting 23,412 votes. Humayun Akhtar of the PML-Q obtained 10,881votes.
In 2002 general elections, Aitzaz Ahsan won this constituency by a narrow margin while contesting against PML-Q candidate Khurram Rohail Asghar. Khurram is son of Sheikh Rohail Asghar who did not contest at that time because of the graduation bar on election candidates. Aitzaz then secured 27072 votes as against 23110 of Khurram Rohail Asghar. Tahir Mehmood Ch. Of PTI had obtained 1204 votes in that contest.
An equally tough contest is also expected in the two provincial constituencies under NA-124.
The PPP has awarded ticket to Haji Imdad, a former PML-N MPA. The PML-N has chosen Waleed Gull this time, who is a new face for the voters. Tariq Hameed is PTI’s candidate.
He is a local merchant.
The PPP candidate is having edge over his rival because of his previous experience of contesting elections. But like all other PPP candidates, he has a negative point too. People may reject him because of PPP government’s failure to address the issue of loadshedding.
Muhammad Naveed Anjum of the PML-N had won this seat in 2008 elections obtaining 30,243 votes. Malik Shahid Imtiaz of the PPPP got 13,394 while Haji Imdad Hussain Tabbassum of the PML-Q got 8,051 votes.
Zahid Zulfiqar, Malik Waleed and Jamshaid Iqbal Cheema are the PPP, the PML-N and the PTI candidates respectively from this constituency. Of these, Zahid had contested 2008 election, but lost to the PML-N candidate. The PTI’s Iqbal Cheema runs a pesticide business in Punjab.
No candidate seems to have taken a clear lead over his rivals at this stage. Any of these can win the seat depending upon various factors.
Allah Rakha of the PML-N had won this seat by getting 34,863 votes. Haji Muhammad Ijaz of the PPP grabbed 13,738 while Ch Ilyas Gujjar, an independent candidate, secured 12,068 votes.