- Competitive and intense election campaign witnessed
- FAFEN to observe Election-Day on Sept 17
ISLAMABAD September 15, 2017: Violations of Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) code of conduct by contesting parties, allegations on PML-N of use of state machinery by the opposing candidates and ECP’s continued vigilance in terms of taking notices of complaints remained the key highlights of FAFEN’s observation of competitive and intense campaign period ahead of NA-120 by-election.
Overall, the constituency witnessed a competitive campaign by major parties including PML-N, PTI and PPPP and other influential independent candidates. FAFEN observers have also reported that the PML-N has primarily relied on their elected Local and Provincial Governments’ representatives for campaigning. The observers stated that Dr. Yasmin Rashid of PTI has been conducting door-to-door and corner meetings in various union councils of NA-120 Lahore-III constituency. An independent candidate supported by Milli Muslim League was also observed to be heavily investing in his election campaign.
FAFEN observers reported sporadic instances of electoral violence – mostly brawls and minor clashes between the PML-N’s and PTI’s workers. Almost all the contesting candidates from opposition parties interviewed by FAFEN raised concerns alleging the PML-N candidate with various charges including the use of state resources. The PPPP candidate accused the District Election Commissioner (DEC) of favouring the PML-N. He also raised concerns regarding the security of the constituency mentioning that the Police did not register a First Information Report (FIR) of incidents of intimidation of his party’s workers by PMLN. PTI’s campaign in-charge Andleeb Abbass, also alleged the PML-N for initiating development schemes after the announcement of the election programme for NA-120 Lahore-III.
Other observed violations of code of conduct include the use of oversized campaign banners and hoardings by PML-N, PTI, PPPP, JI and an independent candidate Yaqoob Sheikh. The workers of these parties were also observed to be distributing food among voters.
The seat had fallen vacant after the disqualification by the Supreme Court of the Prime Minister (PM), Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, who won this seat in General Elections (GE) 2013 securing 59.8 percent of the polled votes. The PML-N has maintained their stronghold during the past three general elections held on current delimitation. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate, Dr Yasmin Rashid, had made inroads into the constituency during GE-2013 securing 34.1 percent of the polled votes. The following graph shows FAFEN’s party-wise analysis of the vote-share of contesting political parties during the last three general elections.