Published On: Sat, May 1st, 2021
Published in Category: Karachi

N-249 by-election: PPP’s Qadir Mandokhel comes out on top after long wait for results; PML-N, PTI, other parties reject results

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KARACHI/LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has secured victory in the NA-249 by-election held on Thursday in the city’s District West, with unofficial, provisional results showing a close contest between the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and PPP in the final count. Total 30 candidates took part in NA-249 bye-election.

PPP’s Abdul Qadir Khan Mandokhel bagged 16,156 votes to win the seat, followed by PML-N’s Dr. Miftah Ismail Ahmed Memon who secured 15,473, unofficial results from polling stations showed. While Nazir Ahmed of outlawed TLP trailed on the third position by receiving 11,125 votes.

PSP’s Syed Mustafa Kamal could acquire only 9,227 votes, followed by PTI’s Amjad Iqbal Afridi with 8,922 votes and MQM-P’s hafiz Muhammed Mursaleen with 7,511 votes.

Both PPP and PML-N had claimed victory for their candidates mid-way into counting, capturing the attention of audiences awaiting results.

The PML-N pulled no punches in blaming the PPP for attempting to rig the result, saying they would not accept the result without challenging the Election Commission.

After the final count was announced, the PML-N’s Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif said the election had been “stolen” from her party. “The Election Commission should have withheld the results of this controversial election,” she said.

“Even if it doesn’t withhold the result, this win will be temporary. This seat will return to PML-N soon,” Maryam claimed.

Meanwhile, the ECP assured that all complaints will be heard in light of the law and if any evidence of irregularity is found, strict action will be taken.

Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in a message of Twitter has thanked the people of Karachi after PPP won the National Assembly constituency NA-249 by-election. Reacting to the news, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari simply said: “Thank you Karachi #NA249.” Several hours later, he congratulated the party on the “historic win”.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Friday has expressed hope that Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will fulfill all the requirements of justice and transparency regarding NA-249 by-polls.

In a statement, the PML-N president thanked the people of the constituency and his party candidate Miftah Ismail for his struggle. Everyone has witnessed how the lead of PML-N was overtaken, he added.

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz asked how in a by-poll where voter turnout of barely 15-18% was witnessed counting was “still underway after eight hours”. “Did fog descend here as well that the election staff reached late?” “Do you take us for fools?” she asked.

PML-N Spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb demanded that the Election Commission of Pakistan take note of what she claimed were irregularities in the results being reported.

She questioned what she claimed were greater vote counts than the total voter turnout percentages reported from certain polling stations.

“The PML-N and Miftah Ismail have won the election,” she claimed, adding: “We will not allow a rehearsal of ‘Daska Game Plan 2’ to take place at certain polling stations.”

Marriyum Aurangzeb asked that the ECP investigate this “Daska fog of deception” which certain quarters wish to have descend into Baldia.

“Why has the counting of votes stopped for the past two hours?” she asked.

The PML-N leader claimed that the various Form 45s present in the returning office are in such a state that they “cannot be read”.

“We will not allow this rigging to take place. We will not let the election be stolen from Baldia voters,” she said.

She also claimed that PPP’s Saeed Ghani was reporting results despite the party’s presiding officer “not having reached the returning officer’s office”.

PML-N’s Muhammad Zubair, meanwhile, questioned how it was that amid a low voter turnout counting was taking so long. “Until we get the Form 45s, we will not budge from here,” he said, adding: “The people have voted in favour of PML-N. The results must now be declared.”

He claimed that the party’s candidate (Miftah Ismail) and their lawyer were not being allowed into the DRO’s office.

Zubair added that the party’s polling agent “was not given the Form 45 of two polling stations” — polling stations 260 and 261.

“Both presiding officers locked up the station and left,” he claimed, adding that the phone of the presiding officer from polling station 260 “has been turned off”.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that the PPP’s conduct over a single seat has highlighted the need for electoral reforms. “Once again I urge the opposition to consider Prime Minister Imran Khan’s suggestion. The voting percentage shows that the people are losing faith in the process.”

Federal Minister for Shipping and Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi claimed it was “obvious the crooked PPP and the provincial election commission were hand in glove in this mess!”

Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani said he was sharing statistics on Twitter from the Form 45s that his party was receiving. “It is upsetting that PML-N — which claims to be a democratic party — is casting blame on others.”

Responding to the claim by Marriyum Aurangzeb of presiding officers not providing Form 45, Ghani said he had with him the Form 45 of polling station 261. “The presiding officer in the polling station 260 did not give anyone Form 45.”

The presiding officer had asked all polling agents to take a photo of Form 45 that he had pasted on a wall, Ghani said. He continued to share what he claimed were the latest results, each showing PPP in the lead.

NA-249, Karachi West-II, was created in 2018 by amalgamating areas that previously fell in two NA constituencies (NA-239 and NA-240) during three general elections held from 2002 to 2013. The seat had fallen vacant after PTI’s Faisal Vawda resigned over his dual nationality controversy and became a senator.