PMLN emerges victorious in by-polls

Imtiaz Hussain & Javed Aziz Khan
Monday, Apr 22, 2024

By News Desk

ISLAMABAD: Contrary to the general election results, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) emerged victorious on most seats in the by-elections, according to unofficial results released by the returning officers late on Sunday night.

The party secured total 11 seats, including those vacated by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz, according to official results. The PMLN candidates also snatched a provincial assembly seat in Wazirabad, which was won by a PTI candidate in the general election.

The PTI-backed Sunni Ittehad Council and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) managed to secure two seats each, while Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PMLQ), Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) and Balochistan National Party (BNP) won one seat each. The PTI candidate was defeated by an Independent candidate in Bajaur, while the PPP secured Qambar Shahdadkot National Assembly seat, which was vacated by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. However, PTI leaders Parvez Elahi and his son Moonis Elahi both failed to secure any win in the by-polls. On the other hand, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa CM’s brother secured the seat which was vacated by him.

After the 2024 general election, the country’s first by-elections on 21 vacant national and provincial assembly seats were held on Sunday amid sporadic incidents of clashes between workers of different political parties in Punjab.

Unofficial results showed that the PMLN succeeded in securing four out of 12 seats from Punjab till the filing of the report. The Nawaz Sharif-led party also won a PA seat from Balochistan and one NA seat from Lahore.

Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) secured one PA seat from Lahore. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) won an NA seat from Qambar Shahdadkot.

PPP candidate Khursheed Ahmed Junejo won by-election in NA-196 Qambar-Shahdadkot constituency by securing 57,231 votes, according to unofficial results. Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan candidate Maulana Muhammad Ali could secure only 2,896 votes. The polling process for the by-election concluded in a peaceful manner. The seat was vacated by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

According to unofficial results issued by the returning officers in PP-32, PMLQ’s Moosa Elahi defeated PTI backed-SIC candidate Chaudhry Parvez Elahi after securing 63,536 votes.

In NA-119, PMLN’s Ali Parvaiz won the seat with 60,918 votes.

In PP-54, PMLN’s Ahmad Iqbal Chaudhary won the by-polls with 60,351 votes.

In PP-139, PML-N’s Rana Afzaal Hussain emerged victorious after bagging 46,585 votes.

In PP-149, Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party’s Muhammad Shoaib Saddiqui won the by-polls with 38,537 votes.

In PP-158, PMLN’s Chaudhary Muhammad Nawaz emerged victorious after bagging 39,946 votes.

In PP-164, PMLN’s Muhammad Rashid Minhas won the PA seat after securing 31,499 votes.

In PB-20, Balochistan National Party’s Mir Jahanzaib Mengal emerged victorious in the by-polls after bagging 7,140 votes.

In PB-22, PMLN’s Muhammad Zarain Khan Magsi won the by-elections by securing 38,199 votes.

Major political parties including PMLN, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed Sunni Ittehad Council and PPP participated in the by-polls.

The voting started at 8am and concluded at 5pm. During the polling process, the federal government suspended mobile phone services temporarily in several districts of Punjab and Balochistan in a decision that was taken to safeguard the integrity and security of the electoral process. Meanwhile, at the request of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the government also deployed Pakistan Army and Civil Armed Forces (CAF) troops during the polling process.

The elections were held on five NA seats, 12 Punjab Assembly seats, two each in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan Assemblies, and one Sindh Assembly seat. The NA seats included NA-8 and NA-44 (KP), NA-119 and NA-132 (Punjab) and NA-196 (Sindh).

The provincial assembly seats included PK-22 and PK-91 (KP), PB-20 and PB-22 (Balochistan) and PS-80 (Sindh). The Punjab Assembly seats where the by-polls took place included PP-32 (Gujrat), PP-36 (Wazirabad), PP-54 (Narowal), PP-93 (Bhakkar), PP-139 (Sheikhupura), PP-147, PP-149, PP-158, PP-164 (Lahore), PP-266 (Rahim Yar Khan) and PP-290 (Dera Ghazi Khan).

Counting started immediately after the polling concluded, and private news channels began to air unofficial results of individual polling stations. However, complete official results were expected late at night or, in some cases, by early Monday.

Despite elaborate security measures taken by the authorities, at least one person was killed and several others injured in clashes during the polling in Punjab province, according to police. Violent clashes took place in Narowal, Sheikhupura and Rahim Yar Khan, the Punjab Police said.

In Narowal, a clash took place between supporters of PTI-backed Sunni Ittehad Council and PMLN outside a polling station. Punjab Information Minister Azma Bokhari said the victim was a member of PMLN, who was killed by workers of SIC. In Sheikhupura and Rahim Yar Khan districts, at least five workers of the two rival parties suffered bullet injuries during clashes. Similarly, in Lahore, the PTI and PMLN workers scuffled on setting up polling camps. The police arrested four persons, including PTI leader Shabbir Gujjar.

Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz said the PMLN voter turnout was impressive in the by-elections, which was welcoming as they reposed complete trust in the leadership of PMLN and their candidates. She expressed deep sense of sorrow over the death of PMLN worker Muhammad Yousaf. She said the killers had been apprehended and PTI hooliganism would not be tolerated.

PMLN Vice President Hamza Shehbaz expressed sorrow over the loss of life of a party worker in Narowal. Expressing condolences over the activist’s death, he slammed the PTI without taking its name, saying that hooliganism of a political party claimed the life of an innocent man during the by-polls. PMLN Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal said the PTI could not win elections through hooliganism. He added the killers would be brought to justice.

After violent incidents were reported in different constituencies during the polling process, Inspector General Police (IGP), Punjab, Usman Anwar, ordered the officers to ensure implementation of the law and order in all constituencies during the major electoral event.

In KP, an Independent candidate was leading in NA-8 Bajaur while a contender from the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) was leading in NA-44 Dera Ismail Khan as the by-elections were held peacefully in the province on Sunday.

Also, Mubarak Zeb Khan, an independent candidate and Daud Afridi of SIC were leading PK-22 Bajaur and PK-91 Kohat, respectively. Strict security measures were taken in NA-44 Dera Ismail Khan and NA-8 Bajaur.

Polls mostly remained peaceful in KP. A roadside bomb targeted a police station in Bajaur but did not cause any casualty. The patrolling van was damaged in the blast.

In Bajaur, independent candidate Mubarak Zeb was leading the by-polls on NA-8 against former MNA and candidate of the SIC Gul Zafar. He had affiliation with the PTI, but was denied the ticket to contest. This forced him to contest the election in an independent capacity against the party candidate.

Mubarak Zeb is the brother of slain Rehan Zeb, who had strong support from within the party. Rehan Zeb was killed days before the general election that postponed the elections in the area.

The results of 177 polling stations showed that Mubarak Zeb was ahead of other aspirants by securing 35,650 votes. He was followed by Gul Zaffar Khan of the SIC, which is supported by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf who bagged 20,986 votes. An independent candidate, Abid Khan, was trailing him by receiving 2,100, Gul Dad Khan of SIC received 1,056, Shah Naseer Khan of ANP received 603 while Abdullah of Pakistan Peoples Party bagged 212 votes.

In NA-44 Dera Ismail Khan, the brother of chief minister Ali Amin Gandapur and candidate of SIC Faisal Amin Gandapur was leading with 56,995 votes in the by-election on the National Assembly constituency NA-44. His rival candidate of PPP Abdul Rasheed Kundi was trailing behind with 9,533 votes, according to unofficial results of 253 polling stations.

The seat was vacated by Ali Amin Gandapur after defeating the chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUIF) Maulana Fazlur Rehman in the February 8 elections. JUIF boycotted the polls. Abdul Rashid Kundi of PPP and Ijaz Awan of Jamaat-e-Islami were among the main candidates for the slot.

Meanwhile, the PTI-backed SIC candidate Daud Afridi was leading the race for the PK-91 seat with 22,215 votes in the by-polls held on Sunday. According to unofficial results, independent candidate Imtiaz Shahid Qureshi was second with 9,682 votes while independent candidate Abdul Samood stood third with 13,593 votes on 160 polling stations out of 168.

There were 10 candidates in the run for PK-91.

A neck-and-neck contest was expected between PTI-backed SIC candidate Daud Afridi and independent candidates Imtiaz Shahid Qureshi and Abdul Samood.

Separately, PTI leader Ali Muhammad Khan alleged on Sunday that the by-elections were also rigged like the February 8 general election. Speaking in Geo News program ‘Naya Pakistan’, he said it was a repeat telecast of the general election rigging. He said the staff of Election Commission was attacked. “I could not campaign in my constituency, unfortunately the state has not learnt any lesson,” he added.

Ali Muhammad Khan said the people in Punjab were voting for someone else, but results were being prepared by someone else. He said if anyone had any complaint in KP, it should be brought forward. He also condemned the killing of PMLN worker in Narowal.