LAHORE - NA-119 (Lahore), won by PML-N leader Hamza Shehbaz Sharif by defeating PTI's Muhammad Khan Madni in 2013, is by and large presenting the same picture as at the time of election about five years ago.

The constituency, considered a stronghold of the ruling PML-N, comprises localities in the Walled City and Northern Lahore – a difficult territory to carry out development projects to the satisfaction of the entire population.

Hamza had won the general election by securing 107,707 votes. PTI’s Muhammad Khan Madni remained runner up by getting 40,797 votes. PPP’s Malik Sohail could get only 3,930 votes.

Two provincial constituencies – PP 141 and PP 142 fall under NA 125.

PML-N’s Mian Mujataba Shuja-ur-Rehman won from PP-141 by bagging 58,857 votes. PTI’s Chouhadry Muhammad Nawaz Nat was runner up with 23,188 votes. Haji Mian Shahid Abbas of PPP got 2,218 votes.

In PP-142, PML-N's Hamza Shehbaz won by receiving 44,130 votes. Waqar Ahmad of PTI remained runner up with 20,305 votes. Arif Naseem Kashmiri of PPP got only 2,886 votes.

After Hamza Shehbaz vacated provincial assembly seat to stay as MNA, Kh Salman Rafiq was elected from PP-142 in the by poll. He managed to secure 17,369 votes. PTI’s Waqar Ahmed remained runner up with 4,730 votes. PPP’s Muhammad Idrees got 1,010 votes.

Winners of the last election are again the likely candidates from respective constituencies in coming general election, though their serial numbers would be changed because of the fresh delimitation by the Election Commission of Pakistan.

Muhammad Khan Madni, runner up in last general elections from NA-119, is likely candidate of PTI from the constituency, though its number will be changed from NA-119 to Na-124. Leading opposition party has yet to give any hint about possible candidates from the provincial constituencies falling under NA-124.

Walled City, Chah Meeran, Makhan Pura, Qila Gujjar Singh, Misri Shah, Bazar Hakeeman, Data Nagar, Choona Mandi, Farooq Ganj, Usman Ganj, Wasan Pura, Rang Mehal, Gawalmandi, Lakshmi Chowk, Landa Bazar, Pani Wala Talab, McLoed Road, Nisbat Road, Noulakha, Railway Colony and Shahi Qila are notable localities in the constituency.

Dilapidated roads, bad shaped educational and healthcare institutions, encroachments, traffic mess, excessive air and noise pollution, insufficient arrangement for clean drinking water and overflowing sewerages was the common scene in the constituency.

The major development in the constituency is construction of Greater Iqbal Park and two girls colleges-one in Badami Bagh and the other in Gawalmandi.  People in NA-119 will be beneficiary of Orange Line Metro Train Project after its completion. Up-gradation of Kot Khawaja Saeed Hospital, provision of missing facilities at schools, installation of 20 tubewells, water filtration plants and improvement in road infrastructure are other significant developments.

Large scale digging for Orange Line Metro Train has added to the air and noise pollution besides causing frequent traffic mess in congested localities. As the government's entire focus is on completing the mega project before the end of tenure of the present regime, residents are bearing the brunt of dilapidated roads in nearby localities. Excessive pollution due to digging and traffic congestion is causing serious health hazards in the constituency.

Leaderships of the PML-N and PTI gave contradictory views on development in different sectors in the constituency. The PML-N leaders claimed to have carried out record development of more than Rs7 billion in the constituency during the last five years. They expressed hope that the voters in the constituency would continue the tradition of supporting the PML-N.

PTI leaders, however, alleged that the present regime has done nothing for the people. They said that development was only aimed at giving undue favor to blue eyed people and not public at large. They said Panama case and corruption in public sector companies have shown real face of the rulers. Referring to the recent statement of Mian Nawaz Sharif on Mumbai attacks, they said that people were annoyed with the ruling party for siding with India against Pakistan.

Voters of the constituency gave varying views on the performance of public representatives and the present regime. Some counted development projects like Metro Bus and Orange Line for supporting the PML-N. Some said that they would continue supporting the PML-N due to ideological affiliation with the party and love for Nawaz Sharif. They said that Panama case was tailor made to decrease public support for Nawaz Sharif. Some people said that they would not vote the PML-N this time due to corruption and targeting of national institutions by the rulers. There were people who voted against the PML-N in last election and were ready to do the same this time.

“Metro Bus and Orange Line projects, improvement of roads, better education and health facilities clearly indicate the priority of the government. The PML-N always facilitated public whenever it came to power. The development is enough to give another opportunity to the PML-N,” said Nasir Pehlwan, a resident of Gawalmandi, adding, Panama case and corruption charges were non issues for public.

“I voted for the PML-N last time due to my ideology. Performance is not an issue. But Panama case and corruption in development projects has saddened me. Despite that I will again vote for the Muslim League with the hope that the leadership will not repeat mistakes in future,” said Rafiq Butt, a resident of Farooq Gunj.

“People come in power to earn money. You can see the difference between governance of PPP and the PML-N. Both the parties are involved in corruption. But at least the PML-N has spent money on projects of public interest like Metro Bus and Orange Line. It should be given credit of development. Pilferage of funds is a routine that will continue in future. There is no harm if some amount is embezzled,” said Mushtaq Butt, a resident of Wasan Pura, adding, he was not concerned about Panama issue or corruption charges and would again vote the PML-N in next election.

Zaheer Awan, a resident of Misri Shah, said that he would not vote for the PML-N in next elections.

“I voted PML-N in the last election. I will not vote this party again. Rulers did nothing except minting money from development schemes. Panama issue and NAB action on corruption cases have shown real face of rulers. Not only me but also number of people will not vote PML-N due to corruption and bad governance”, he said.

Syed Abbas Raza, a resident of Mochi Gate, said that he voted for the PTI in last elections and would do the same this time around.

“The performance of the present regime and surfacing of Panama case has proved that my decision of not voting for the PML-N in last elections was correct. Anti-people policies and large scale corruption has offended voters. Panama case is a blessing that will pave way for ending dictatorship of Sharifs”, he said.

Hamid Raza, a resident of Data Nagar, Badami Bagh, said that voting for the PML-N would be a big mistake.

“I did not cast my vote in last elections. This time I will vote PTI. Imran Khan has exposed Sharifs. He has the capacity and will to take the country out of prevailing crises”, he said, adding, he would persuade close friends and relatives to exercise their right to vote for the better future of Pakistan.

“PML-N has done nothing during the last five years. Projects are aimed at getting commission and not public relief. People are concerned about alarming increase in debt burden during the present regime. Quality education and health are still unfulfilled dreams. Rulers are concerned about saving looted money and not about problems of the masses. I will vote for the PTI with the hope that it will perform better than both the Sharifs and Zardari”, said Muhammad Sabir, a resident of Makhan Pura.

PTI’s Muhammad Khan Madni, runner up in last general elections from NA-119, said that claims of unprecedented development were misleading as all amount was spent to favor blue eyed.

“Government schools and hospitals are presenting a pathetic picture. No arrangements have been made for provision of potable water. Overflowing sewerage, encroachments, illegal parking and traffic mess are regular feature,” he said, adding, major portion of Lahore has been dug out for construction of Orange Line Metro Train which was causing huge public inconvenience.

“Excessive pollution due to unplanned digging and traffic congestion has caused alarming increase in skin, lungs and stomach diseases”, he said.

Referring to the difference at the time of last election and the present stage, he said that the party workers were trained enough now and were fully prepared to counter attempts of rigging.

“We will not allow the PML-N to steal election this time. We are ready to foil any attempt of rigging”, he said, adding, the public support for the PTI has also increased manifold due struggle of Imran Khan for exposing the Sharifs.

“Panama issue and NAB action on corruption cases in development schemes have helped public seeing real face of Sharifs. Imran Khan deserved credit for making alive Panama issue till disqualification of Nawaz Sharif for lifetime. Statement of Nawaz Sharif on Mumbai attacks is an eye opener for the masses. Hopefully, PTI will win elections from this constituency and across Pakistan”, he said.

MPA from PP-141 and Minister for Excise and Taxation Mian Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman claimed to have carried out record development in the constituency during the last five years.

“This constituency is a stronghold of PML-N. Committed voters will continue supporting the PML-N. We remained in contact with workers and supporters and resolved their problems. More than Rs7 billion has been spent on development projects during the last five years. Greater Iqbal Park, two new colleges for girls, provision of missing facilities at schools, up-gradation of hospitals, installation of 20 tubewells, water filtration plants in several localities, improvement of road infrastructure and sanitation arrangements are notable achievements. Residents of the constituency will be big beneficiary of Orange Line Metro Train”, he said, adding, NA-119 has been declared the best and developed constituency in Lahore. He claimed he would win the next election on the basis of good governance and unprecedented development.