LAHORE - For the PML-N’s ‘Iron Man’ (Lohay ka Channa), Khawaja Saad Rafique, the cricketer-turned politician Imran Ahmad Khan is a ‘Political Stranger’ in NA-131 who would not even know who thrashed him on July 25.

Khan Niazi will surely have to show steel teeth to his rival who claims to be a ‘Lohay ka Channa’, a hard nut to crack.

“My opponent is set to lose the battle against me because he is a ‘Political Stranger’ in this constituency,” PML-N’s firebrand Saad Rafique told his supporters last Sunday. It is, however, yet to be seen who receives a real kick in the teeth in exchange of blows on the fateful day.

Saad Rafique is a veteran politician who made his first mark in student politics on the platform of Muslim Students Federation. He has a charismatic personality and is also known for his oratory. He has managed to survive in the dirty politics of Pakistan for years due to these qualities.

Besides, Khawaja Saad also has the magical powers to grasp which prize bond can win him millions of rupees in the lucky draw. He is perhaps the only politician from the PML-N who made fortune out of the lucky draws to begin with.

And if he chooses to reveal this magic on the electorate, he will remain unbeatable in the times to come. But surely he will have to demystify this science to make them understand how to identify a prize bond that would fetch them millions.

Nonetheless, it is another story how he became a real estate tycoon within years. Currently, Kh Saad and his brother Salman are facing NAB investigation for Paragon Developers’ alleged involvement in Ashiana Housing Scheme scandal. 

It may be surprising for many but it is true that Saad’s rival candidate in NA-131, Imran Khan also has the realization about his immense following in the constituency. Khan is on record having told his supporters at a party meeting last week that they should not take it an easy contest and work really hard to defeat the PML-N man.

PPP’s Asim Mehmood Bhatti and noted singer Jawad Ahmad are also in the run from this constituency, but they are nowhere near to the two political giants in the competition. 

The voters in this constituency may have to line up again outside the polling stations in two months’ time if the PTI chief Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi emerges victorious on July 25.

Such an eventuality may arise after the polls, as the PTI chief is contesting from five different constituencies at the same time. Other constituencies include NA-35(Bannu), NA-53 (Islamabad),NA-95 (Mianwali) and NA-243(Karachi). But he can keep only one seat even he is able to win from more than one seat. 

It is already in the air that Khan Niazi will relinquish his Lahore seat to make room for Waleed Iqbal, the grand-son of Poet of the East, Allama Muhammad Iqbal who was denied party ticket from Lahore. But he will have to defeat his rivals in the by-poll to may it to the National Assembly. 

NA-131 comprises areas including RA Bazar, Nishat Colony, Cavalry Ground, Walton, DHA, Kamanhan, Bedian Road, Ali Park Nadirabad, Bhatta Chowk, Ghosia Park and Chungi Amar Sadhu.

Around one-third of NA-131 has been taken out of the old NA-125 parts of which could also be found in NA-129 and NA-132. With a total population of 7,72,182, this constituency has 3,11540 registered voters.  

For understandable reasons, Imran Khan may get majority of the votes from the DHA, but Saad Rafique, on the other hand, has a considerable vote bank in areas like Nishat Colony, Bedian Road, RA Bazar and Chungi Amar Sidhu.

Saad, however, believes that well-educated and  patriotic voters of DHA would also vote for him.

As the PTI chief Imran Khan does not have enough time to run his campaign in NA-131, he has assigned this responsibility to Aleem Khan and Waleed Iqbal. Aleem is also contesting from a provincial seat (PP-162) falling under this constituency. He is facing Muhammad Yasin Sohal of the PML-N and Ch Atif Rafique of the PPP from this constituency. From PP-163, another provincial constituency under NA-131, PTI’s Bilal Aslam Bhatti is contesting against Mian Naseer of the PML-N while no PPP candidate is in the run from here.

 

 

PML-N’s Iron Man versus Political Stranger