LAHORE - Nation Assembly constituency NA-120 has always been a stronghold of the PML-N, because of which Shehbaz Sharif is less likely to face stiff resistance in upcoming by-poll for this seat.

The seat fell vacant because of the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif following Friday’s Supreme Court verdict in Panama case.

A PML-N meeting decided in Islamabad on Saturday to get Shahbaz Sharif elected as successor to Nawaz Sharif. To qualify for the office, Punjab chief minister will have to get elected as a member of the National Assembly. The schedule for the election will be announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan.

According to 2013 general election results, Nawaz Sharif got 91,666 votes from the constituency. His rival candidate, Doctor Yasmin Rashid of the PTI, secured 52,321 votes, highest ever in the constituency against PML-N. However, around two dozen candidates of different parties including Pakistan People’s Party, JUI-F and Jamaat-e-Islami and independents had lost their security deposits against the former prime minister. The candidates whose security was forfeited were: Zubair Kardar, PPP-P, 2,604 votes; Maulana Hafiz Sana Ullah, JUI-F, 1,152; Hafiz Sulman Butt, JI 952; Robinson Advocate, Independent, 813; Marghub Hussain Naqvi, Independent, 774; Allama Mujahid Abdul Rasool Khan, PST 631; Farrukh Habib, Independent, 56; Syed Izzat Yousaf, Independent, 41; Malik Ibrar Aslam Awan, Independent, 36; Doctor Asif Rafique, Independent, 35; Muhammad Pervaiz Jutt, Independent, 35; Gohar Ali Khan, PML-C 33; Muhammad Rehman Khokhar alias Raz Rehman, Independent, 31; Syed Nadeem Anjum, Independent, 27; Muhammad Asghar, Independent, 27; Hakim Jamil Asghar Khizri, MDM ,22; Rehana Ahmad, Independent, 20; Syed Shamshad Hussain, Independent 17; Farooq Azad, Independent, 16; Saria Goga, APML, 12; Nawab Doctor Ambar Shahzada , AJSP, 12; Haji Muhammad Sharif, Independent, 10 and Zahid Javeid Butt Advocate, Independent, 8 votes.

The results of general election 2008 were not different from that of 2013. But the voters’ turnout was low in 2008 as compared to 2013. PML-N candidate Bilal Yaseen who is also a close relative of Sharifs had secured 65,946 votes against his rival candidate Jahangir Badr of PPP whose votes were 24,380. PTI had boycotted the election under the then president General Parvez Musharraf. The other candidates were: Kh Tahir Zia, PML, 4270 votes; Hafiz Sana Ullah, MMA, 843; Gull Muhammad Bhatti, APP, retired 703 votes; Maqsood Ahmed Awan, MQM, 73 and Muazzam Iqbal Gill, Independent, 41 votes. Election 2002 winner was also Parvez Malik of PML-N.

The NA 120 Lahore-III seat from district Lahore consists areas of old city, Islampura, Bilal Gunj, New Anarkali, Urdu Bazaar, Hall Road, Cooper Road, Mayo Hospital, Sanda, Mozang, Kareem Park, Lower Mall, Lake Road, Shahrah-i-Fatima Jinnah, Moj Darya Road, Lytton Road, Chauburji, Rajgarh, Riwaz Garden, Sanat Nagar, Ram Nagar, Dave Samaaj Road, Sham Nagar, Sanda, Civil Secretariat, Prem Nagar, Bund Road, Ravi Colony, Kasurpura, Khokhar Town and Mominpura. PP-139 Lahore-III and PP-140 Lahore-IV fall under the constituency from where PML-N candidates Bilal Yasin and Majid Zahoor had secured the victory in 2013. Total population of NA-120 is 456,960 with 125,877 males and 106,923 females.

The Nation has contacted people of different walks of life to get their opinion about the situation emerged after the Supreme Court verdict against Sharifs. Majority of the voters in the constituency, when asked as to whom they would prefer to vote in by-poll which will be held within 45 days after disqualification of Nawaz Sharif on Friday, said they were quite sure about the victory of Shehbaz Sharif in the next by-poll. However, some were of the view that seat would now go to PTI mentioning 2013’s numbers. They claimed Dr Yasmin would have been the winner candidate in last elections had it not been rigged.

The PTI once again has decided to field Dr Yasmin as its candidate.

Kashif Butt is a shopkeeper in Islampura and he is lover of Imran Khan. Talking to The Nation, he claimed around 6 people from 10 in the area belong to PTI. Khawar Riaz, a private schoolteacher in Mozang, also hoped the PTI would win the by-poll.

The PML-N voters, however, claimed that they would be winner with even big margin. Nawaz had secured almost 50 per cent more votes than his rival but this time Shahbaz would defeat PTI candidate with 70 per cent margin, said Faisal Tariq. He is a labourer and lives in Temple Road area.

“We will repose our confidence in PML-N in by-poll. Nawaz Sharif is our love no matter what the Supreme Court verdict is,” said Waseem Anwar, a shop owner at The Mall and resident of Naqi Ehata.

Rana Shamim is a rickshaw driver. He lives in Dhobi Mandi and an active supporter of Nawaz Sharif. He said he would do personal campaign for PML-N in his area.

Mehnaz Nadeem, a housewife and resident of Mozang, said she would vote and support PML-N. “We are disappointed on our beloved leader’s disqualification. But we will continue supporting PML-N.”

Rehana Kausar is a PML-N worker and lives in locality of Cooper Road. She claimed every rival of her party in by-poll would lose security deposit.

Muhammad Salim, a shopkeeper in Krishan Nagar, said the apex court verdict disappointed the PML-N voters but they stand firm with Nawaz Sharif.