web analytics

Verdict on NA-125: A Tribute to Lalak Chowk Protestors

“Success of democracy lies within the analytical thought of a common man.” ― M.H. Rakib.

Pakistan’s history is replete with the stories of how the most sacred right of a common man was torn, abused and treated as unholy. The vote had lost its sanctity – long back – in minds and hearts of people of Pakistan and casting vote was largely deemed as a futile exercise.

But, then arrived Imran Khan with a resolve to retrieve the lost ownership and belief in one’s born right.

He had sensitized the commoners to walk out of their shells, unlock the chains of apathy and become a crafter of their tomorrow. The passive youth was galvanized into warriors who roared back once predators preyed on them and fought triumphantly in the battlefields of Lalak Chowk, Teen Talwar and D-Chowk.

Imran Khan emerged to be the only man who cared to annihilate the blight of rigging that has eclipsed the futures of millions by forging one pseudo reign after another. Initially, his stance was looked at with scorn and was scoffed by declaring his concerns as a tantrum of election defeat.

But, his faith is eroding all the skepticism, cynicism and despondency. As each passing day is validating his stance over rigging and affirming the travesty caused to democracy in the name of elections.

The verdict on NA-125 is the first official validation of PTI’s long parroted stance on rigging. And further validations are just around the corner as massive irregularities are being unveiled in other constituencies as well, causing immense turbulence in PMLN ranks and driving nightmares to the likes of Ayaz Sadiq.

Though, the judicial verdict came now, but a common man gave his verdict at Lalak Chowk; the day when people marched out of their homes – on their own – to bring to light the grand robbery of their basic right.

Photo by: Kiran Wali (Lalak Chowk – Aug 23, 2015)


The memorable protest began soon after the voting session of General Election, 2013 when the residents of NA-125 refused to accept the declared result of the very constituency from where Saad Rafique of PMLN and Hamid Khan of PTI were contesting. Through my personal observation I can clearly recall that almost every person I talked to had decided to vote for PTI. There were people from all walks of life who were in favor of the party challenging the status quo. Not only the ‘elites’ (as it is said about PTI supporters), but, also the maids working at homes, the men standing outside the restaurants taking orders, were among the ones supporting PTI.

That was the primary reason why the results revealed by the ECP on NA-125 were hard for the voters to accept. Hence, they took it to the streets, protested hard to be heard in order to bring to notice the ‘irregularities’ people themselves had witnessed at various polling stations of NA-125.

People of all ages participated in the sit-in to raise their voice asking for justice. In one loud voice, the crowd at Lalak Chowk would chant: “ECP jawab do. Vote ka hisaab do.”

Photo by: Kiran Wali (Lalak Chowk – Aug 23, 2015)


Saad Rafique has always had the audacity to justify his victory before the public. Quite suspicious it always was to see him feeling not only confident but, rather arrogant when it came to defending his win. PTI protestors were looked down upon and even ridiculed from time to time for raising their voice against the injustice.

After weeks of struggle, Saad Rafique continued to rule and PTI though had winded up the sit-in from the famous Lalak Chowk of DHA Lahore, it stood by its rightful stance and thus, continued to fight for it at various forums. Again, after a year when the Azadi March began in August 2014, the protest for NA-125 gained momentum all over again and the PTI voters started to gather everyday at the same Lalak Chowk as part of their solidarity with the Azadi March and to reiterate their reservations over the NA-125 results. The crowd would either chant “Go Nawaz Go” or would show their love for the country by chanting “Pakistan ka matlab kya: La Ilaha Illalah”. Not only had the residents of NA-125 showed up but, people from all over the city who voted for PTI joined the NA-125 protestors.

Time passed. Two years flew by. Nothing substantial could happen and neither the justice was served. But, the struggle was there. The hope did not die until the decision of re-election in NA-125 came. The day has finally arrived. Justice has finally served. People are rejoicing and celebrating the victory of truth. The long-awaited decision brought only shame and embarrassment to the ones who kept ridiculing PTI for its justified stance.

Though, the implications of judicial verdict are yet to be established but, there is no denying that the exhibition of analytical insight by citizenry in last two years is what will shape the future of this country and will lead to restoration of a true democracy.

For the last 24 months, the momentous and unprecedented (ongoing) movement led by a self-willed man, driven by divine power, has begun to imprint in pages of history as a catalyst for the electoral reforms in Pakistan. The formation of Judicial Commission is first big step towards a long tortuous road of electoral reforms. But, whether PTI will succeed in achieving these electoral reforms is a bit early to predict.

Amid all this, the election tribunal verdict on NA-125, Lahore – just few days before the 2nd anniversary of sham elections – is a tribute to those who refused to surrender to injustice. Who voiced the truth in the face of falsehood, echoed virtue over vice and made the history of taking a stand for the future generations.

It is a day to take pride in ourselves.

It is a day to applaud each other for a triumphal struggle.

It is a day to celebrate the victory of a common man.

As, this day has marked the beginning of a tomorrow in which rigging will no more be a norm and democracy will cease to be a commodity serving its highest bidders.


Sheema Mehkar co-authored with Kiran Wali.

Facebook Comments