PTI wants Lahore split in four districts, not two

Local party leaders believe more districts would increase their electoral advantage in the coming elections


Rizwan Asif November 28, 2020
Photo: ONLINE

LAHORE:

With Lahore’s population continuing to grow, the Punjab government has signalled its intention to split the district into two.

But if Lahore is to be divided, Pakistan Tehreek-eInsaf’s local leadership wants four districts, instead of two, The Express Tribune has learnt. According to PTI sources, the party has already prepared a proposal towards this end, which came up in a meeting of key party leaders held earlier this week. Participants of the huddle, presided over by PTI Central Punjab President Ijaz Chaudhry, agreed to table the proposal before the prime minister and chief minister, they said. Discussing the reasoning behind the proposal, sources said some members of the party believe four districts would translate into an electoral advantage and further loosen their rival Pakistan Muslim LeagueNawaz’s hold on Lahore.

This is because they believe increasing the number of districts would also increase the number of national and provincial constituencies. When contacted, Ijaz Chaudhry confirmed that consultations over the proposal to divide Lahore into four districts were underway. “Our proposal will be finalised soon, and we will then present it to both the prime minister and chief minister, as well as the media,” he said. Meanwhile, sources said PTI ticketholders who contested for Lahore’s four National Assembly seats and 14 provincial assembly seats have grown frustrated by factionalism within the party and lack of attention from the government. As a result many of them seem to have become inactive in politics while others are keen to leave their existing constituencies and contest elections from other ones, they told The Express Tribune.

While PTI North Lahore General Secretary Mehar Wajid, who contested elections for NA-123, is still in touch with voters in the constituency, others have limited their political presence after growing disillusioned. PTI’s PP-144 candidate Malik Muhammad Asif, for instance, appears to have restricted his participation in constituency politics and organizational activities, although he continues as a board member of the Lahore Transport Company. Muhammad Noman Qaiser, who contested elections for NA-124, is also far away from constituency politics, while Ghulam Mohiuddin Diwan, a candidate in the byelection, has long stopped participating in party activities in the constituency.

PTI’s PPP-146 candidate Malik Zaman Naseeb is still fully active and thought by some to be a strong contender for the next election, but sources said he has developed differences with Diwan. Even Punjab Health Minister Yasmeen Rashid, despite being a member of the provincial cabinet, has limited her political activities on a constituency level. Although she was ultimately elected as an MPA on a reserved seat for women, she originally contested the elections for NA-125.

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