ISLAMABAD -  The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), least expected to win the NA 120 Lahore by-poll, had not lost hopes of a surprising victory.

A Gallup Pakistan survey report launched on Wednesday indicated the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) would sweep the September 19 election.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was expected to be the runners up with the PPP seen at a distant third position.

The survey results showed 53 per cent people wanted to vote for the PML-N, 29 per cent for the PTI and only three per cent for the PPP .

Nayyar Bokhari, the PPP secretary general, however, rejected the survey results saying his party would give a tough contest to the rivals.

Speaking to journalists here yesterday, he said such “ghost surveys” would not reflect on the polling day. “We reject this survey report. This has nothing to do with the situation on the ground,” he added. Bokhari, a former chairman of the Senate, said that the PPP would not allow anyone to steal the NA 120 polls.

“They will have to contest to win,” he contended. Last month, PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had nominated Faisal Mir, brother of prominent anchorperson Hamid Mir, to contest the election in NA 120.

The seat fell vacant after former premier Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification in July.

The PML-N has fielded Sharif’s wife Kulsoom Nawaz.  The PTI has awarded ticket to Dr Yasmin Rashid. Bilawal and his father Asif Ali Zardari held several meetings in Lahore in the recent weeks to muster support for their candidate.  There are more than 40 candidates, running for the NA 120 constituency but most people believe the real contest will only be between Kalsoom Nawaz and Dr Yasmin Rashid.

PPP’s Faisal Mir is also confident of putting up a good show.

With the by-poll approaching, the PPP has launched verbal attacks on the PML-N.

Bilawal even said that he would not even pick former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s telephone call and would not protect Sharif as he had always stabbed him in the back.

Sharif was disqualified on July 28th by the Supreme Court for hiding assets.

The PML-N leader later said he respected the verdict but had his reservations.

Sharif has challenged his disqualification in the Supreme Court.  Bilawal’s late mother, Benazir Bhutto, and Nawaz Sharif had a bitter past where they took turns to rule the country in incomplete terms in the 1990s.  They signed a Charter of Democracy during Pervez Musharraf’s military rule to respect each other’s mandate and protest democracy.

After Benazir Bhutto’s assassination in 2007, Bilawal’s father Asif Ali Zardari continued the reconciliation policy for years but abandoned it in the recent months citing PML-N’s “negative politics”. Nayyar Bokhari said that the PML-N and the PTI were two sides of the same coin.

“They cannot bring any change. They have been exposed so people will not vote for them,” he maintained. The PPP leader claimed Nawaz Sharif and the PTI chief Imran Khan were in fact supporting each other.

“They cannot live without each other,” he added.

Bokhari said that the PPP had always laid sacrifices for the nation and Faisal Mir was contesting against the candidates of the “liar” parties.

He said that Nawaz Sharif was now asking people why he was ousted and predicted that soon Imran Khan would be asking the question “why was I introduced in politics.”

Bokhari alleged Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz was misusing public resources for the election campaign as the PML-N wanted to win by hook or by crook.

 

 

Shafqat Ali