Originally uploaded by Citizen of Two Worlds
by Zubair Azam (from the NEWS)
LAHORE: The Walled City could not live up to its repute of festivity on the election day, as people had security concerns in the wake of a bloody political clash in the area a few days ago and polling was held only for one Provincial Assembly seat.
However, people showed a trend of being pro-Nawaz Sharif as camps of the PML-N swarmed with charged supporters and voters. Polls in the NA-119, famed for Hamza Shahbaz’s debut run, were postponed following the death of PML-Q’s Tariq Banday. However, polling was held in the PP-142, with main contestants being Khawaja Salman Rafique (PML-N), Azeem Hanif (PML-Q) and Zameer Khokhar (PPP). However, a general sentiment prevailing in the area suggested a walkover for the PML-N.
Kamran Butt, casting vote in Paniwala Talab, said seven members of his family had cast votes for the PML-N while three had voted for the PPP. A small gathering outside the polling station, commenting on the low turnout, said people were fearful after recent bomb blasts and the firing incident in Gawalmandi a few days ago. However, rejecting the PML-Q, they said anyone from the PML-N and the PPP was welcome but not the PML-Q. Predicting the election result, they vowed to ‘puncture’ the cycle, the election symbol of the PML-Q.
The sense of being left out of the race even before it had started was evident on the face of PML-Q candidate, Azeem Hanif, who made hectic trips to all polling stations to make sure polling agents were working. To his dismay, he had to be content with one where he required two or more. Talking to The News, however, he proclaimed he would give a tough time to his rivals.
The area was no exception to a wider trend of an insignificant turnout in early hours of the day. At noon, the turnout at most polling stations was only 10 percent. But it was only after midday that people woke up to the significance of the day as they turned up in large numbers, raising slogans for ‘Lion’ and Nawaz’s faction of the Muslim League. The PML-Q candidate had to be content with a gigantic roaming bicycle to impress onlookers.