All three wish to win but only one will get through
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Excluding the ruling PPP, almost all political parties as well as independents in the run for NA-55 (Rawalpindi) bye-elections are claiming to win the polls to be held on February 24. The PPP did not field any candidate in the bye-elections and its leadership has reportedly announced to back Shakil Awan of the PML-N.
PML-N candidate Shakil Awan claims to have an edge over his opponents. He specially targets Awami Muslim League (AML) Chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed. He says that Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has no chance in the forthcoming bye-elections as he has no backing of any political party. According to him, he did nothing for the development of Rawalpindi as an MNA.
The PML-N candidate said that Sheikh Rashid Ahmed failed to get work completed on the Family Hospital at Asghar Mall during the five-year government of PML-Q. “Now he is blaming the present government that construction work on the hospital has been halted through a conspiracy,” he said. He said that former president Pervez Musharraf had inaugurated the Nullah Leh Expressway and Flood Control Plan, which could not be completed by Sheikh Rashid Ahmed despite being the MNA of the constituency. “But now he is blaming the present government for not implementing the project,” he added.
Shakil Awan claimed that Dr. Mohammad Kamal of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has no roots in Rawalpindi. According to him, the JI leader would bag less than 15,000 votes in the election. He predicted a big defeat of his opponents in the bye-polls.
On the other hand, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that the popularity graph of PML-N has fallen rapidly over last two years. According to him, the people of Rawalpindi had provided two chances to the PML-N candidates over last two years but no practical work for the development of Rawalpindi could be done.
He said that the Elevated Expressway project announced by the PML-N government has not been implemented till now. Similarly, projects like Ring Road from Rawat to I J Principal Road, parking and commercial plaza in Raja Bazaar and construction of underpasses have not been implemented. He added that no new academic institutions was opened anywhere in Rawalpindi in the PML-N government’s tenure.
He said that during the PML-Q’s tenure Fatima Jinnah Women University was set up, traffic projects of Murree Road and academic institutions for girls were opened in every union council of Rawalpindi.
Sheikh Rashid Ahmed predicted that despite having no backing of the government or political parties, he would defeat his opponents with a big margin. “The people of Rawalpindi would bring a change by voting in my favour this time,” he said. He vowed that all mega projects related to traffic and flood control announced during the PML-Q’s government would be launched within a couple of months if he was elected from the NA-55.
JI candidate Dr. Mohammad Kamal said that not only Sheikh Rashid Ahmed but the candidates of PPP and PML-N were provided chances by the people of Rawalpindi over last two decades. According to him, the people of Rawalpindi have not witnessed any change in terms of development and beautification of the city. “The condition of Rawalpindi has deteriorated instead of improving,” he said.
He cited the examples of traffic jams on Murree Road, Liaquat Road and Jinnah Road. “The problem of water shortage has not been resolved. Projects of small and big dams were announced during the PML-Q’s tenure but they were never implemented,” he said.
According to him, people need a change and good leadership for making Rawalpindi a model city. The JI would implement all traffic projects, work for the promotion of education and health sector, and improve the overall sanitation and sewerage system in every part of NA-55.
About Shakil Awan, Dr. Mohammad Kamal stated that he has served only as a nazim of the district council. “People would not vote for Shakil Awan because the PML-N has lost popularity in Rawalpindi,” he claimed.