Tuesday Jul 05 2022

By-poll in PP-168 Lahore: A PML-N candidate on his own?

PML-N’s Saad Rafique (left) and PTI’s Malik Asad Ali Khokhar (right)
PML-N’s Saad Rafique (left) and PTI’s Malik Asad Ali Khokhar (right)

On July 17, the control of the Punjab assembly will be on the line, as the race for 20 seats in the province heats up.

In Pakistan's most politically important province, the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) is hoping to maintain its narrow control, while the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) is aiming to wrest the province away from the ruling party.

Who could tip the balance in their favour?

In the run-up to the by-polls, provides an in-depth look into each constituency:

A profile of the constituency

Total voters: 151,484

Male voters: 84,144

Female voters: 67,340

PP-168 falls under the constituency NA-131, from where PML-N’s Saad Rafique is MNA.

2018 winner: In 2018, the provincial constituency was won by PTI’s Malik Asad Ali Khokhar.

This year, Khokhar was disqualified by the Election Commission of Pakistan for voting against his party in the election for chief minister Punjab.

Contesting candidates

The PML-N has allotted the ticket to Malik Asad Ali Khokhar.

The PTI has fielded Malik Nawaz Awan.

Who could win?

PP-168 Lahore was won by PML-N’s Saad Rafique in the 2018 general election. When Rafique gave up his provincial constituency to retain his national constituency, Asad Ali Khokhar contested on a PTI ticket and bagged the constituency.

Since then, Khokhar has carved a name for himself in PP-168 and is likely to give the other candidate a run for his money.

However, one disadvantage that Khokhar has is that Afzal Khokhar, a sitting MNA of the PML-N, is his rival. This could be why the top leadership of the PML-N is hesitating to openly campaign for Asad Ali Khokhar.

The PTI’s Awan is a trader. His party has a sizable vote bank in this constituency.

Election activity

PTI chairman Imran Khan has addressed a large political rally here.

Constituency problems

A major concern is sewerage problems. Some of the areas that fall within this constituency are upscale like Cantt, but others are underdeveloped with poor infrastructure.