Party chiefs who won polls from Lahore in past

ISLAMABAD (PEN) : The people of Lahore have a unique record of electing several politicians, who led their political parties, in the previous general elections.

In the February 8 elections, three political figures who also head their party, are contesting from Lahore. The leaders include Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Istehkam Pakistan Party (IPP) President Abdul Aleem Khan.

Nawaz is contesting from NA-130, Bilawal from NA-127 and Abdul Aleem Khan from NA-117. However, this is not the first occasion that the top leadership of the party has chosen Lahore as their constituency to contest a general election.

A total of seven politicians have contested and emerged victorious from Lahore while holding the top office of the party. The first such precedent was seen in the 1970 general elections when PPP founder and the sitting head Zulfikar Ali Bhutto contested the election from Lahore. He fielded himself from National West (NW) 60 and emerged victorious with a significant margin against Javaid Iqbal, son of Allama Iqbal, from this constituency.

In that contest, Bhutto got around 78,000 votes whereas Javaid Iqbal as the candidate of the Convention Muslim League (PML-C) got around 34,000 votes. It is pertinent to mention that both, Iqbal and his son-in-law Mian Salah ud Din contested from Lahore for the National Assembly seats in 1970 but lost.

In the year, 1988, PPP’s then-co-chairperson Benazir Bhutto contested from the same seat from where her father contested in 1970. She won that seat by a significant margin.

In 1993, Nawaz contested from NA-92 and NA-95 and won both seats with big margins. In 2002, while the Sharifs were in exile, Makhdoom Javaid Hashmi was the acting president of PML-N. He contested from NA-123, a seat of Lahore which he won. Interestingly, he lost his home seat from Multan in the hands Shah Mehmood Qureshi who contested from PPP’s ticket back then.

In 2002, in the same general election, Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Chairman Dr Tahir ul Qadri contested from the then NA-127 and won. In the 2018 general elections, while Shehbaz Sharif was leading PML-N and serving as party president, he won the National Assembly and a provincial assembly seat from Lahore.

Similarly, Imran Khan, the founder and then-chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) also contested from the then NA-130, a seat of Lahore and won.

In this way, seven political figures have won the general election on the soil of Lahore at a time while they were also holding the topmost position in their respective parties.

Amongst the cities of Pakistan, Lahore is the only city from where the largest number of former national sportsmen — five — and the largest number of women have been elected through direct contest in a general or by-election.