Tag Archives: Election

Lahore: The writing on the wall

Ayeda Naqvi (courtesy Daily Times)

Lahore has been ruled by any number of any would-be emperors. Lahore has survived. The emperors have faded. Those who are remembered are remembered for their deeds, not their billboards

Driving down the streets of Lahore, a few days ago, I was struck by an unusual sight. On the wall of a canal underpass, in red, somebody had scribbled “I love you”. There was a heart around the words. So struck was I by this sight that I nearly crashed my car.

You see the past few months I have become accustomed to a very different type of graffiti — vandalism in the name of electioneering. From mammoth-sized billboards with candidates’ faces to political slogans painted on walls, Lahore was “sprayed” by the PMLQ in much the same way that animals mark their territory.

No corner of our city was spared. Everywhere we turned, we were assaulted by these large and vulgar displays. Lahore took on an eerie feel as even beggars’ wheelchairs sported logos. Everywhere you looked, Big Brother was watching you back.

Some people were so disgusted they simply refused to vote. Others were more pragmatic. As a Canal Park shop-keeper said, “We will take their cheques and eat their food but we will not vote for them.” The response was loud and clear: our loyalties are not for sale. No amount of money spent on television advertisements or street campaigns can buy our votes. Continue reading

The dilemmas of a Lahori voter

Fesiel Naqvi a lawyer and a writer at Pak Tea House, voted in the election on February 18. Here is what he has to say:

The problem with Pakistan is not that there are shades of grey which are being missed by casual observers. The problem with Pakistan is that it is a checkerboard with lots of blacks and lots of whites. Whether you think of Pakistan as shining or screwed up, you can find all the evidence you want. What you won’t find is a definitive answer either way.

So where does that leave the undecided voter?

Well, I decided to take the Sherlock Holmes approach and first rule out the impossibles. So, vote for Zardari? Hell no. Vote for Nawaz Sharif? Over my dead body. Vote for Moonis Elahi? Only if you took me aside later and shot me in the back of the head.

But who did that leave? A bunch of no-names including the no-name running under the sign of the elephant whose house happens to be opposite mine. But that would mean wasting my vote, my precious democratic vote. At that point, I was sorely tempted to use my seven-year-old’s solution to all complicated issues: eeny meeny mina mo, catch a tiger by his toe…

I wish I could give a coherent explanation as to why I finally settled on the PPP but I don’t think I can. When I reached the polling booth, my head was still spinning from the lack of decent choices.

Inside the polling station, all was confusion. There was a PPP polling agent but he could not figure out my name on the list and so told me to go outside. Outside was no better, as the PPP booth was literally unmanned, being staffed only by a gaggle of ladies who told me in the most shaista Punjabi that they had no lists and did not know what to do with them anyways. Not knowing who else to approach for help, I went to the PMLQ booth where a bunch of efficient organised workers soon had me all set up and ready to vote.

After I had gone back in and managed to manoeuvre my way through the whole finger-painting, thumb-stamping process of casting a vote, I asked the PPP’s polling agent why his party was so woefully disorganised that I had to get my slip filled out by the PMLQ guys. His first reaction was, “Challo ji Moonis Elahi da koi ta faida hoiya na!” And when that excuse did not quite pass muster, he tried a different tack. “Sarkar, we have no computers. Only the Q wallahs have computers”.

At this lovely riposte, I have to say that my heart sank. All I could think of were the lyrics to an old Ray Charles song titled, “Here we go again”.

Here we go again
She’s back in town again
I’ll take her back again
One more time
I’ve been there before
And I’ll try it again
But any fool knows
That there’s no way to win

Full article below: Continue reading

Election 2008: Results of Lahore seats

Raza Rumi

We are listing the results of the election in Lahore – PML-N remains synonymous with Lahore…

NA 118 Lahore –I

Muhammad Riaz of the PML-N won the election by securing 55,900 votes. Muhammad Asif Hashmi of the PPPP got 24,712 while Mian Muhammad Azhar got 11,073 votes.

NA 119 Lahore II
The election was not held because one of the contestants Tariq Banday of the PML-Q had died. Muhammad Hamza Shehbaz Sharif of the PML-N and Muhammad Zakria Butt of the PPPP were also contesting from this constituency.

NA 120 Lahore III
Bilal Yasin of the PML-N bagged the seat by getting 65,946 votes. Jahangir Badar of the PPPP got 34,331 votes while Khawaja Tahir Zia of the PML-N got 4,270 votes.

NA 121 Lahore IV
Mian Marghoob Ahmad of the PML-N won the election by securing 72,028 votes while Aurengzeb Shaafi Burki of the PPPP secured 27,835 and Mian Muhammad Asif of the PML-Q got 7,521 votes.

NA 122 Lahore V
Sardar Ayaz Sadiq of the PML-N got 79,628 votes while Mian Omar Misbah-ul-Rehman of the PPPP secured 24,934 votes and Mian Muhammad Jahangir of the PML-Q secured 10,610 votes. Continue reading

Elections 2008 in Lahore – a “money game”?

What a disturbing report from The News authored by Babar Dogar on elections in Lahore:

“THE 2008 general elections will be remembered among other things for lavish spending by affluent candidates to the extent that their rivals find it impossible to compete with them at least in terms of money.

Affluent candidates, majority to whom are of a particular political party, have openly violated the electioneering spending limit of Rs 1.5 million fixed by the Election Commission of Pakistan. Standing in elections seem to be a money game and candidates with a limited budget seem to be running campaigns lacking razzle-dazzle.

A visit to any constituency shows huge billboards of candidates greeting people. Candidates are spending millions of rupees for publicity. They have adopted various meathods such as display of billboards, airing campaign ads on cable television, distribution of pamphlets, stickers, hand bills, banners and party symbols among voters, opening of numerous election offices in each union council, serving food and refreshments to their supporters, hiring vehicles for their election campaigns and finally purchasing votes. Continue reading