On July 17, the control of the Punjab assembly will be on the line, as the race for 20 seats in the province heats up.
In Pakistan’s most politically important province, the PML-N is hoping to maintain its narrow control. While the PTI is aiming to wrest the province away from the ruling party.
Who could tip the balance in their favor?
In the run-up to the by-polls, Geo.tv provides an in-depth look into each constituency:
A profile of the constituency
Total voters: 236,394
Male voters: 123,816
Female voters: 112,578
PP-158 falls under the constituency NA-129 where PML-N’s Ayaz Sadiq is MNA.
2018 winner: In 2018, the provincial constituency was won by PTI’s Aleem Khan.
This year, Khan was disqualified by the Election Commission of Pakistan for voting against his party in the election for chief minister Punjab.
The PML-N has allotted the ticket to Rana Ahsan Sharafat.
While PTI has fielded Mian Akram Usman.
Who could win?
As Aleem Khan has decided to not contest this election, the PML-N has declared Rana Ahsan Sharafat as its candidate for PP-158. Sharafat had contested the 2018 polls from this constituency, from the platform of the PML-N, but lost to Aleem Khan by over 7,000 votes.
Now Sharafat has the backing of Aleem Khan, a big-timer in politics, who was a senior minister in PTI’s government in Punjab. The candidate also has the support of the PPP and other PDM parties. Sharafat’s uncle is PML-N’s Rana Muhammad Iqbal.
PTI’s Usman is the son-in-law of PTI’s Mian Mahmood ur Rashid.
However, both the competing candidates are relatively unknown in the constituency. Instead, the political parties, the PML-N and the PTI, have a substantial vote bank here and it is likely that the electorate will vote for the party of their choice rather than for the candidate.
The younger population in the area are also active in campaigning for the PTI.
The constituency has seen a spirited election campaign, where PML-N’s Maryam Nawaz Sharif and PTI’s Imran Khan both have held large rallies.
A large part of the constituency is made up of posh and up-scale areas, such as Lahore’s Gulberg and Shadman. However, there are pockets of underdeveloped areas such as those near the Qurban Lines. These homes still lack basic facilities like clean drinking water and a proper electricity and gas connection.
Several of the residents of Qurban Lines told Geo.tv that they will not vote for any political party, as no one comes to their area after they win the election.