Voters say unlike PML-N contestant, PTI candidate for UC-91 chairmanship has clout in his party
A tough competition is expected between Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf candidates for chairmanship in Union Council-91 (Samnabad).
PML-N has fielded Amir Farooq and Mehar Hashim for chairman and vice-chairman, respectively. Chaudhry Jehangir and Sajjad Durrani are contesting on a PTI ticket.
PTI MPA Mian Aslam Iqbal is a resident of the UC. He had beaten the PML-N candidate Mian Tariq, a former political adviser to the chief minister, and got elected to the provincial assembly from PP-148 in the general elections of 2013. Iqbal was elected nazim from the area in the local government elections held in 2001. He had been associated with the PML-Q. Later, he had next won a provincial assembly election in the area (in 2002). His brother Mian Afzal Iqbal had won the election held on the vacated nazim seat in the UC.
Some voters surveyed by The Express Tribune said they believed the PTI’s panel was likely to win. They said compared to their PML-N contenders the PTI candidates had significant clout in their party. About the ward councillors, they said two of the six PML-N candidates were strong contenders.
Voters mentioned shortage of clean drinking water and poor arrangements at the Samanabad Hospital as their major problems. “We want our representative to get a water filtration plant installed and fix sewage pipes,” said Malik Nadeem, a voter in the area.
The UC includes neighbourhoods in the vicinity of the well-known Doongi Ground, Government Sulemania High School, and Khizra Masjid. There are more than 20,000 registered voters in the UC.
The Doongi Ground gained prominence in the media during the campaign for NA-122 by-poll between PML-N’s Ayaz Sadiq and the PTI’s Aleem Khan. Both parties held their major jalsas at the ground. The PTI gathering featured its chairman Imran Khan’s speech. Hamza Shahbaz spoke at the PML-N jalsa. In 2013, the PML-N had opted for the Doongi Ground to hold the concluding jalsa for its general election campaign.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2015.