NA-135 LAHORE XIII Like NA-136, electoral politics in the bulk of NA-135 also revolves around biradari loyalties. Here too, it is the Khokhars who rule the roost.Votes and polling scheme Three provincial constituencies of PP-161, PP-170 and PP-173 fall under this national assembly constituency.The number of registered voters in this constituency is 243,689 (134,207 men and 109,482 women). According to the polling scheme prepared by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), 185 polling stations will be established in the constituency where 527 booths will be set up on the Election Day. Major localitiesWith the new delimitations, the area in this constituency has been split neatly between rural and urban union councils, including the newly developed townships including the biggest Lahore Development Authority scheme in the city, Johar Town. The constituency contains educated middle class, lower middle class as well as working class voters. Main areas in NA-135: Margazar Colony, Mehar Pura Mustafabad, Alhamad Park, Jameel Town, Roshan Park, Hanjarwal, Khyaban-e-Quaid, Jalal Park, Rana Town, Gulzar Mansoora, Gulshan Park, Hashim Nagar, Itifaq Town, Niaz Baig, Thokar, Gulshan Town, Ali Town, West Wood Colony, Judicial Colony, Abdalian Rasul Pura, Johar Town Blocks J, L, P, Q, R, H, G, F, D, C, Canal View Housing Society, Revenue Scheme, PIA Society, Mustafa Town, EME Society, Mohafiz Town, Shahpur Kanjraan, Rakh Kambah, Ali Raza Abad, Kachi Kothi, Shabir Amam Colony, Nasir Abad, Sadhoki, Ghugian, Hassan Town, Kharak Nala, Haideri Colony Kharak, Awan Town, Dubban Pura, Hajwari Town Thokar Niaz Baig, Raiwind Tehsil, Rakh Khamba, Kahna Kacha.Main areas in PP-161: Murghzar Colony, National Park, Mustafa Abad, Muhammad Pura, Jameel Town, Roshan Park, Hanjarwal Block-D, Khushal Park, Jilal Park, Fazal Park, Khayaban-e-Quaid, Rana Town, Habib Park, Gulzar Mansoora, Khadija Park, Gulshan-e-Abbas, Jamal Colony, Itefaq Town, Amina Park, Ahmad Housing Society, Abadi Niaz Baig, Amin Town, Abdullah Town, Ali Town, Mohallah Bhattiyan, Judicial Colony, Rasool Pura, Samsani Road, Canal View, Chora Sharif, Johar Town Blocks H, G, and J-1,2,3, PCSIR Housing Society Block-1,2, Hassan Town, Alfalah Society, Kharrak, New Bazar Kharrak, Awan Town, Farooq-e-Azam Colony Kharrak Nala, Haideri Colony Kharrak, Dubban Pura, and Hajveri Town. Main areas in PP-170: Khamba, Sadhoki, Ghuggian, Nanghar, Kahna Kacha, and Teh Warriach UCs.Main areas in PP-173: Johar Town Block-C, D, F, M, R, P, Q, L, Ali Raza Abad, Niaz Baig Abadi, Technology Collage Block-A and C, Sharjah Colony, Sher Shah Colony, Kot Bhag Ali, Bhobhattiyan, Sardar Town, Nisarabad, Khaliq Abad, Nasirabad, Rahim Abad, Shabbir Imam Colony, Azimabad, Fateh Abad, Rakh Khamba, Hasina Abad, Fazal Pura, Kanbara, Kot Gujraan, Fareed Town, Murid Abad, Shah Pur Kanjarah, Khan Pur Kanjarah, EME Society, Education Town, Mansoor Colony, Karamat Colony, Azeem Garden, Khayaban-e-Zuhra, Iqbal Avenue, New Johar Town, OPF Scheme, West Wood Colony, Gulzar Town, Sarshar Town, Gulshan Town, Civil Defense Colony Niaz Baig.Key issuesThe voters in the constituency report four key problems: lack of public hygiene, poor sewerage system, encroachments, and unscheduled outages of electricity and gas, particularly in rural areas.Ali Town, Hanjarwal, Waris Colony, and Muraghzar Colony are some of the areas where voters highlighted the lack of a sanitation system as their major problem. In Thokar, Johar Town, Awan Town, Hassan Town, Mansoora, Mustafabad, Niaz Baig, and Al-Hammad Colony, most voters Daily Times spoke to said encroachments on roads was a problem they sought to be addressed.Voters of Niaz Baig, Hanjarwal, Shah Pur Kanjaraan highlighted the poor sewerage system. In Khan Pur, voters said that vacant plots remained filled with dirty water all year, spreading water-borne diseases among residents. In the rural areas of Rakh Khamba, Niaz Baig, and Kahna, voters complained about lack of paved roads.Residents of some semi-rural localities like Shah Pur Kanjaraan and Khan Pur, Sadhoki, Kahna made complaints about lack of installation of water filtration plants. They said that they voted for Malik Afzal Khokhar, PML-N candidate from NA-136, in the previous election but he ignored the area, while getting plants installed in all the adjacent areas.Main clansKhokhar, Arain, Gujjar, Jutt and Rajput (especially Bhatti and Rana families) biraderis are settled here in good numbers.According to media cells and election campaign offices of major political parties and candidates in the constituency, Khokhars are the largest community in the constituency, estimated to have around 90,000 to 100,000 voters.Campaign teams of PML-N and PTI candidates, both from Khokhar clan, claim that in the new delimitations, some areas of Johar Town had been removed and replaced with Mustafabad, Hassan Town, and Kharrak areas. Resultantly, the number of voters of the Khokhar biraderi has come down, while the number of Arain voters has increased.Arains, the second largest biraderi here, are estimated to have more than 50,000 votes in the constituency. They are expected to play a more influential role in the upcoming election.Gujjars are the third largest vote bank here. Their number is estimated to be around 30,000, while Jutt and Meo communities have about 20,000 registered voters each. Rajputs have around 10,000 votes here.Arain, Gujjar, Jutt, Meo and Rajput biraderis are scattered in different areas of the constituency, the Khokhars’ vote bank, in contrast, is concentrated in contiguous areas.Candidates and party positionsPakistan Peoples Party (PPP) remained popular in the area for many years following its emergence in 1970s. However, after the fall of left-wing politics in Punjab, PPP’s jiyalas left it for Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrek-e-Insaf (PTI). Like other areas of the city, PML-N remains a potent force here as well.PML-N’s Afzal Khokhar had won the election from this constituency in 2013, when it was called NA-128. He is contesting the election this year from NA-136, which includes about half of the areas of NA-128 not made a part of NA-135.Afzal Khokhar has fielded his borther Saiful Malook Khokhar on the PML-N ticket in NA-135 this year. Saif is a former MPA and considered closed to Maryam Nawaz.Malik Karamat Khokhar and Zaheer Abbass Khokhar family are the rival group of Afzal Khokhar family in the politics of the constituency. Karamat, a former MPA and a seasoned politician, is a cousin of Saiful Malook and Afzal. He remained with the PPP in the 1990s, winning the 1993 general election in old PP-131 on the party’s ticket. Karamat was defeated by Afzal Khokhar in the NA election in 2013.For July 25, Karamat is contesting against Saiful Malook on the PTI ticket, with the support of Malik Sarfaraz Khokhar of Khanpur, an influential person in his area who is the candidate on a PP seat falling in the constituency, PP-173. According to informed sources, Malik Sarfaraz had joined PTI on the request of Jahangir Tareen in 2016. Previously, he was in the Afzal Khokhar group. Malik Sarfaraz has more than 20,000 voters who are expected to side with him in his native area, while the Acha Bhatti group of Niaz Baig and Arain community of Shah Pur Kanjaraan have also announced to support him. Karamat Khokhar is hoping to boost his chances of success with all this support.In PP-161, PML-N’s Faisal Khokhar is considered to be in a strong position against PTI’s Nadeem Bara who is facing a big dent in his vote bank as Amirul Azeem of Jamaate Islami is also in the contest on an MMA ticket. Nadeem Bara and his elder brother Jahangir Bara were linked with Jamaat Islami in the past, but now they have joined the PTI under the influence of Ejaz Chaudhry, a former PTI Punjab president.Far-right Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) has fielded Mohammad Ahmad Majeed who can secure the third slot. MMA’s Amirul Azeem is expected to get no more than 5,000 to 10,000 votes. The JI’s headquarter, Mansoora, falls in this constituency. The party has a decent vote bank in Johar Town’s H-Block and Mustafa Town.In PP-161, PML-N’s Faisal Ayub Khokhar, son of Saiful Malook, is contesting against PTI’s Malik Nadeem Abbas Bara. The TLP has fielded Malik Sher Zaman.In PP-170, a tough competition is expected between PML-N’s Imran Javed and PTI’s Amin Zulqarnain. PML-N vote bank has seen a set back here due to TLP and MMA candidates Imran Ishfaq and Mehmoodul Ahad, respectively.In PP-173, after disqualification of Maryam Nawaz Sharif, the situation has tilted in favour of PTI’s Malik Sarfaraz Hussain. TLP has fielded Fiaz Hussain Shah here.AnalysisInitially, PML-N’s Saiful Malook was considered to be in a safe position since Maryam Nawaz was contesting from one of the PP seat. However, after her disqualification, the PML-N is now relying on her covering candidate, also from the Khokhar clan, Irfan Shafi.Irfan is the son of Malik Shafi Khokhar, elder brother of Saiful Malook and Afzal Khokhar.In Hanjarwal and Mohafiz Town, PML-N is in a strong position with the odds stacked in its favour by 70 to 30, according to political pundits. The PTI is hoping to secure the majority vote from the dozens of newly formed housing schemes in the area.Published in Daily Times, July 15th 2018.