Hero says the area has a rundown sewerage system, faulty streetlights and roads full of potholes
Hero aka Mehr Shabbir is hoping for an easy win from Union Council 218. He participated in the local government elections for the first time in 2005 from a Pakistan Muslim League Quaid-i-Azam seat, which he won, and later joined the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) to remain in active politics. Now, he is contesting the election as the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz candidate for chairman.
Hero, a property dealer, says he chose to campaign using his “loveable” nickname to appear more endearing to voters. “I was never a hero in a movie or anything…It’s a pet name that my friends and family have used since I was a kid. Now more people recognise me as Hero, and not by my actual name Mehr Shabbir.”
Hero says the area has a rundown sewerage system, faulty streetlights and roads full of potholes. “These issues need to be resolved on priority…I will struggle to get them resolved if I win the election.”
The PML-N candidate for vice chairman is the son of famous political journalist from Lahore. Khawaja Saad Farrukh, general manager of a local newspaper, says water pooled in their streets during rainy season. “This is the biggest issue in UC 218.” He says Clifton Colony and Alhamd Colony are worst hit during monsoon season each year. “A few minutes of downpour can turn the area into Venice.”
He says that they had already gotten approved a rain water disposal pump for the area, which would be installed after the elections.
The PTI has nominated Chaudhry Muhammad Shafiq and Malik Muhammad Idrees for chairman and vice chairman slots, respectively. Both candidates are businessmen and Shafiq was a councillor in 2001.
He stresses the need to address issues caused by tangled electric wires, low gas pressure and roads full of potholes. “These issues have made the lives of residents miserable.”
He says in Chah Janay Wala, a rural neighbourhood near Paki Thatti, some of the voters would poll along caste affiliations. The Arain cast has a stronghold in the area. He says the PTI had nominated a Christian councillor to attract votes from the large Christian community in the area.
Idrees, who is contesting his first election, says access to safe drinking water is a big problem in the Sutlej and Jehanzeb Blocks in Allama Iqbal Town. “There is one operational water supply tubewell for the whole area, the rest are well past their design age.”
He says street crime and mobile theft are also common in the area. “We plan to work on keeping that in check after we win the local government election.”
UC 218 comprises mostly low and middle income groups in Ittehad Colony, Samanabad, Chah Janay Wala village; and Jehanzeb, Khyber, Sutlej and Neelam Blocks of Allama Iqbal Town; Alhamd Colony and Clifton Colony.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2015.