The Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is beating its rivals in at least one area ahead of the elections: in spending on posters and banners on the streets and roads of Lahore, The Express Tribune has learnt.
According to figures obtained from the Parks and Horticulture Authority, PTI candidates have spent around Rs1.8 million on posters and banners advertising their candidacy, followed by candidates from the PML-N (Rs1.3 million), PPP (Rs900,000), Jamaat-i-Islami (Rs200,000), MQM (Rs90,000), PML-Q (Rs55,000) and independent candidates (Rs65,000).
The PTI has also outspent the PML-N on banners and posters advertising the party generally, as opposed to a specific candidate, handing the PHA Rs530,000. The PML-N has spent Rs339,000 on posters and banners advertising the party symbol and leader, with no other party engaging in such advertising. Most of these general adverts are concentrated at Main Boulevard Gulberg, Main Boulevard Johar Town, Maulana Shaukat Ali Road, Main Boulevard Allama Iqbal Town and Grand Trunk Road.
The PML-N, PTI, PPP and MQM are the only parties fielding candidates at all 13 National Assembly constituencies in Lahore. The JI is competing at five seats. The PML-N and PTI are the only parties running for all 25 Punjab Assembly seats. The PPP is fielding candidates at 24 seats and the MQM and JI at 18 seats each.
PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif has spent the most of any candidate of any party on obtaining rights from the PHA, forking out Rs290,000 for campaign posters, followed by Rohail Asghar Hayat (Rs279,250) and Shahbaz Sharif (Rs245,000).
For the PTI, 18 candidates have obtained rights to display posters or banners. Dr Murad Ras, candidate at PP-152, has spent the most of any PTI candidate (Rs202,860) while Hamid Zaman (NA-118) has spent the least (Rs18,000).
Eight PPP candidates have obtained publicity rights, with Bushra Ahtizaz Ahsan, candidate at NA-124, spending the most (Rs201,450). Samina Khalid Gurki, who is considered a good bet to defend her NA-130 seat, has spent Rs70,000 on her posters and banners.
Only four JI candidates have obtained rights for publicity: Riazul Hasan at PP-148, Ehsanullah Waqas at PP-154, Liaqat Baloch at NA-126 and Manzoor Hussain Gujjar at NA-130.
Begum Tahira Asif (NA-126) and Dr Zaibun Nisa (NA-125) are the only MQM candidates putting up posters and banners.
Candidates wishing to put up campaign posters, in areas other than private housing societies and the Defence Housing Authority, must get a no-objection certificate from the city district government and then buy rights from the PHA. The authority offers differing rates on different roads.
The A+ category, which is the most expensive, includes only Noor Jehan Road, Mehmood Ali Kasuri Road and MM Alam Road (Mini Market to Firdaus Market). Jail Road, Main Boulevard Gulberg and Canal Bank Road are among 15 roads in category A, GT Road, Davis Road and Bund Road are among 29 roads in category B, and College Road, Hall Road and Sanda Road are among 35 in category C.
The prices of the adverts range from Rs100 per week for a 3×5 (square feet) streamer on a road in category C, to Rs800 per week for a 9×3 banner on a road in category A+. The street publicity campaign is to end on May 9, when all streamers and banners are to be removed.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2013.