The PTI candidate for chairman has a Jamaat-i-Islami-affiliate as running mate
Muhammad Shahid Saeed and Ijaz Ahmed Hafiz, who are running for chairmanship on Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) tickets respectively, have been rivals for public office for 17 years.
The union council comprises Taj Park, Shamnagar, P&T Colony, Gulfishan Colony and New Chauburji Park. A drain cuts through the area. Residents say a foul smell fills the air. They say the area has been neglected for nearly a decade, and that water and gas provision are problematic.
Muhammad Shan, who runs a shop on Tauheed Park Street, says most voters in the area have supported the PML-N over the years but were beginning to get frustrated.
Hopefuls have been canvassing door-to-door. The UC is situated in NA-121 and PP-149 represented by PML-N’s Mehar Ishtiaq Ahmed and Education Minister Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan.
“They have never come to this area,” says Mohammad Shahid Saeed, PTI’s candidate for chairmanship. His candidate for vice chairman is affiliated with the Jamaat-i-Islami.
Saeed is a two-time union council deputy nazim elected in 2001 and 2005 and runs a construction business. He says the area has not seen much development since his term ended in 2009.
“There used to be better roads and better drainage,” he says.
He says his opponent is trying to bait voters with promise of money in his door-to-door campaigns.
“As a resident of this area, I understand the problems of my neighbours,” he says.
This, he says, is his edge over his former neighbour Ijaz Ahmed Hafiz.
Ijaz Ahmed Hafiz, 49, is the PML-N candidate for chairmanship in the union council.
He owns property and medicine businesses.
Hafiz, whose ancestral home is in Tauheed Park, has built a house in Johar Town, nearly 12 kilometres away.
“He [Shahid Saeed] held power for 10 years. What miracles did he perform?” he says.
Hafiz had defeated Saeed in 1998 to be elected councillor.
Hafiz says his rival has joined and left several parties including PML-Q, PPP, JUI and PTI. “It is a game for him,” he says. Saeed has denied this, saying he has only been affiliated with the PTI.
“In 2001, Saeed beat me in the election for nazim,” Hafiz says. “It was Musharraf’s era and no one from the PML-N stood a chance”.
Besides water and gas supply and installation of streetlights, Hafiz is promising to secure ownership rights for almost 450 houses in P&T Colony. The matter has been pending with the Evacuee Trust Property Trust board.
“We have been trying to resolve the issue for over a year,” he says.
“We are talking about things beyond gali-naala [streets and drains] politics… there are so many issues in the neighbourhood the PTI is not even aware of,” he says.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2015.