Home > Shahi Qila: Candidates embroider manifestos with impossible promises

Shahi Qila: Candidates embroider manifestos with impossible promises

A rickshaw enters the Lahore Fort. PHOTO: ABID NAWAZ/EXPRESS

A rickshaw enters the Lahore Fort. PHOTO: ABID NAWAZ/EXPRESS


Providing an uninterrupted supply of gas and electricity, across the board employment and lower tariff on electricity may seem like wishful thinking, but they are on top of the agenda of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf candidates in Union Council 38.   

The candidates feel that they need to promise the sun and the moon to starry-eyed supporters, because, “how else will we win their hearts?”

Whether they can deliver on any of these promises, is of course, another matter, as they lie outside the local governments’ purview.

The candidates for both parties have been holding corner meetings and going door-to-door to meet with voters.

PTI’s candidate for chairman Faisal Dar says these are the main problems the voters have identified. “If we tell them we can’t do anything about them, they won’t vote for us.”

He says he is aware that there isn’t much he could do about the electricity and gas supply, “however, these are burning issues”.

PML-N candidate for chairman Chaudhry Muhammad Aslam has a round-about response to the question of whether he can deliver on his promises.

“Think of this as snake-oil…you prescribe it for every ailment.” He says candidates were under the pressure to act like they had the fix-all to every problem under the sun.

“We have to win the hearts and minds of voters.” He says he is also planning to appoint some Christian women on reserved seats.

This is Aslam’s seventh election. He says he was elected councillor in 1979 and 1983. He contested the election for provincial assembly in 1985 but lost. He says he was elected councillor in 1987.

He says in 2001 he was elected nazim of UC 30 which has now been divided into UCs 38 and 39. He says he also participated in 2005 election but lost. He says till 1985 he had been contesting elections from the Jamaat-i-Islami platform.

He had later joined the PML-N because of certain reservations. The candidate for vice chairman on his panel is Andaz Hussain, a former JI affiliate.

He contested the election for councillor in 2001 but lost.

From the PTI panel, the candidate for chairman is Faisal Dar and candidate for vice chairman is Abdul Rauf Butt.

Faisal contested the election for labour councillor in 2005 from the PPP’s platform but lost. His father is former PPP coordinator Khadim Hussain Dar. He said they left the PPP four years ago and joined the PTI. He says they consider Imran Khan their leader because he wants to do something for the country.

Abdul Rauf contested election for general councillor in 2005 as a PPP candidate but lost.

A third panel in the UC is independent, led by chairman candidate Arshad Ali Goga.

Goga used to be a PML-N supporter but he chose to contest the election as an independent because the PML-N did not give him a ticket.

This UC falls under NA 119 and PP 142 from where PML-N’s Hamza Shahbaz became the MNA and Khawaja Salman Rafique the MPA. There are more than 15,000 votes registered in the UC.

Prominent areas here include Shahi Qila, Chait Ram Road, Koocha Shahbaz, Pani Wala Talab, Kashmiri Gate, Katri Bawa, Choona Mandi, Ghati Bohar Wali, Masti Gate, Androon Masti Gate, Fort Road, Haveli Dhian Singh, Said Mitha Bazaar, Purana Tehsil Bazaar, Mohalla Barood Khana, Moti Bazaar, Haveli Kabuli Mal, Rang Mehal, Mohalla Sathan, and Androon Bhati Gate.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2015.

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