LAHORE - Electioneering is at its peak in the NA-120 constituency where by-elections are scheduled to be held on September 17. This National Assembly seat fell vacant after the Supreme Court disqualified Nawaz Sharif as prime minister in the Panama leaks case on July 28.

Amin Park near Bund Road falls in the constituency, which the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has been struggling to retake. Rival Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is also trying to prove its ‘popularity’ in this constituency.

After opening their election offices in the area, various political parties are making promises to secure votes in the September 17 by-polls.

The locals have been longing for a school for long, but to no avail. A primary school, set up at a seminary, has fallen prey to a land dispute. Some private schools are present in the area but most people of the locality cannot afford their fees.

The PML-N, which has challenged the ouster of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Supreme Court, has fielded Nawaz Sharif’s wife Kalsoom as its candidate in the NA-120 constituency. Dr Yasmin is the candidate of the PTI – the party of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan who claims to have won the battle against corruption after the Nawaz ouster.

Other parties, PPP, JI and Milli Muslim League, have also fielded their candidates in the constituency and are running their election campaigns to best of their abilities, but the PML-N and PTI are the most active parties in these by-elections.

“I will support Kalsoom Nawaz,” says 65-year-old Umar Hayat. Hayat is an ex-serviceman and deals in sanitary stuff. He has been working as a volunteer teacher for the last one decade. He supports Kalsoom because he believes that most of the ‘development work’ in the constituency was done by the PML-N during its years in power.

“I support (the candidate) who I think is better for people, as most of the development work has been done by PML-N people at different times,” says Umar.

The area gives a quagmire-like look, exposing the ‘development work’ done by the ruling party. The sewerage system remains choked and sewer keeps overflowing. The locals get this mess cleared on a self-help basis. A few millimetres of rain grind life to a halt for days. The area belongs to Food Minister Bilal Yasin, who is considered a powerful icon in the ruling party.

Hayat expressed the hope he would get a school approved by the government after voting the PML-N candidate to power, though the by-election is going to be held for a National Assembly seat. “Though considerable development has not been done in the area, we are still hopeful,” says Hayat.

Rehmat Ali, who works at a tea stall in Shafiqabad No.1, wants to see the PTI in power and solve problems facing the area. “Different parties’ candidates approach us and want us to vote for them. I think the PML-N cannot develop the area and address our concerns. This time I am voting for PTI candidate Dr Yasmin Rashid,” he said.

The area has been underdeveloped for years. It is also house to a considerable number of Pakhtuns.