PTI’s Idrees says poor governance standards have exacerbated citizens’ woes
LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has been striving to put up a spirited fight against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in the forthcoming local government elections in Union Council-171, a historical stronghold of the latter.
The political temperature has been increasing in the UC with candidates, activists and voters organising rallies, corner meetings and conducting door-to-door campaigns.
Situated in PP-142 and NA-119, the UC includes Qila Gujjar Singh, Usmania Colony, Mohalla Chaudhriyaan, Montgomery Park, Laal Chowk, Abdul Karim Road, Main Bazaar and Gurdwara QG Singh areas. The number of voters in the UC is 13,700 of which 45 per cent are women. Hamza Shahbaz Sharif was elected as an MPA from the area in the 2013 general elections. The PML-N’s Salman Rafique had retained the seat for the party after Hamza had vacated it.
Residents told The Express Tribune that lack of basic amenities including clean drinking water, drainage, sewerage and streetlights was the chief challenge bedevilling the area. Basharat Siddique, who had contested the 2005 local body elections, said an upset could be expected.
He said the people were fed up with the PML-N. Siddique said it had failed to address inflation, unemployment and the energy shortfall. He said a large number of women were exasperated as they were finding it extremely difficult to effectively run their kitchens. Siddique said the increasing proportion of peoples’ income used to pay utility expenses had also left citizens incensed. He said the grievances of PML-N activists could also be exploited by the PTI.
Malik Idrees is vying for the UC’s chairmanship from the PTI’s platform. He had also stood against Salman Rafique in 2013. Idrees said the PML-N had failed to deliver. He said poor governance standards had exacerbated citizens’ woes. Idrees said the PTI’s manifesto was premised on ensuring the provision of clean drinking water, an effective sewage system and clean streets.
Nadeem Chaudhry, the party’s candidate for the UC’s vice chairmanship, was elected as a naib nazim in the 2001 local government elections. An erstwhile member of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), he had joined the PTI a few months before its October, 2011, jalsa at Minto Park together with Mian Azhar.
Amir Khan, the PML-N’s candidate for the chairmanship of the UC, is affiliated with a traders’ association in the city. He said the party had served the people around-the-clock. Khan said the party had established medical camps, sastay sabzi bazaars and arranged visits by CNIC and driving licence mobile vans. He said the party would continue to serve the people after the elections.
Khan said the establishment of a Sunday Bazaar and a sports complex were the main themes of their electoral campaign. He said the Haji Camp was only used for one month annually. Khan said the PML-N would build a sports complex there. He said it could then be used for recreational purposes over 11 months. Khan said it could still be used to train pilgrims during the Hajj season.
Zahid Khan, the party’s candidate for vice chairmanship, has never contested an election before. He hails from a middle class background and works for a private firm.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2015.