It`s not over till the fat lady sings, these were the words of a voter yesterday in NA120. Congratulations to PML-N and Maryam Nawaz on their victory but it`s far from over for them as the battle continues for PTI`s quest of Naya Pakistan.
The transition of PTI from a group of passionate people in 2013, to an unflagging team was commendable to see. The passion was infused with a sense of responsibility and organization within the ranks when I visited an office in Santnagar , house of Mian Azhar a veteran politician who was an MNA from the same constituency.
The office had a contagious energy in it, volunteers working hard on voter lists, compiling data for transportation and to contact voters. This office was called the data center, this was where the chief campaign officer was running the show. Although PTI was butchered in the Local body elections, but it definitely gave PTI a team at the grass root levels in every UC, a UC chairman candidate, the Vice chairman candidate and 6 councilors worked in co-ordination with the UC office, which coordinated with the central office.
Next, I visited different booths in the area, offering transport for the voters which a close family friend had arranged, to my amaze many booths already had ample transport facilities, something very different from previous elections for PTI.
I roamed freely in the streets of NA 120 amidst screams of “Chor Chor” , “Maryam kay papa chor hain “, once where even the thought of voting against Nawaz was a sin. The myth of PMLN`s invincibility was badly dented, where as in areas such as UC 50 and UC71 on the bund road PTI supporters outnumbered PML-N, same was the case in Santnagar and Temple road and the streets of Mozang.
During the day I was constantly in touch at home, updating my very emotional PTI supporters, anything around 10,000 votes lead should be considered victory for PTI from PMLN`s strongest constituency , where they had never even faced a competition. Many thought a deficit of 25,000 votes is what we would be facing, some even thought about 30,000 votes.
In the afternoon I was able to meet the iron lady Dr. Yasmeen Rashid along with Andaleeb Abbas at her election office in Shadman, the calmness on her face and the patience with which she talked amazed me, as to how in the middle of such a massive election she would talk to a plethora of supporters with such affection.
She had done all the hardwork, there was satisfaction and contentment on her face and rightly so. The office had volunteers like me, making calls to the voters of different Union Councils in NA120, urging them to go out and cast their vote, again something which I didn’t expect, great management of the election day and utilization of volunteer workforce.
As the results poured in, it was amazing how courage, passion, hard work and diligence transformed into an unforgettable election result. Many might not agree with me, however it is a
fantastic result for PTI. Grabbing almost 50,000 votes and holding our vote bank intact against the might of the federal government, the provincial government, free jobs, roads and so much more. On the other hand PMLN lost about 30,000 votes as compared to GE2013.
The turnout for the election was only 39 percent, about 17 percent less as compared to GE2013, so about 50000 less votes than GE2013 and the deficit was only 13,000 votes. These stats tell a lot, these stats are definitely a harbinger for change and hope.
By-elections have been great for PTI, we lost in Vehari by only 500 votes, in Gujrat by 1500 votes, in Lahore NA 122 by only 2000 votes the trend tells how inch by inch , step by step we are gaining. The momentum is building, the tide is rising and the tsunami is coming back. What we have gained is invaluable experience of contesting elections and under a neutral setup where the rules are the same for everyone in GE2018 we are heading towards our destination, IA Naya Pakistan.
About the Writer:
Sheheryar Iqbal is an Aerospace Engineer and a PTI stalwart.