MANSEHRA: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has emerged victorious in by-elections held in Hazara after it bagged three of the four district council seats, as per unofficial results available with The Express Tribune on Monday.
On the other hand, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf could only win a single district council seat in the division.
By-elections were held on two district council seats in Mansehra, one district council seat and a tehsil council slot in Battagram and a district council seat in Haripur district on Sunday.
Race for Khatai
According to the unofficial results, by-polls for district council’s seat in Khatai union council in Mansehra involved a fierce competition between both parties.
Insiders familiar with the matter told The Express Tribune Ahmed Shehryar Khan, a PML-N nominee and former PTI leader, was contesting for the seat. Unofficial results suggest he won the seat in Sunday’s polls after he bagged 2,043 votes, defeating PTI’s candidate, Taleh Muhammad who obtained 1,201.
Shehryar had won the seat during the local government elections in May 2015. However, he was nominated by PTI in the past. This time around, the candidate’s victory will work in PML-N’s favour. Shehryar had lobbied for the nazim slot but decided to switch sides after PTI decided to nominate its district president, Shafat Ali Khan, as its candidate for the post.
Reacting to the party’s decision, Shehryar, along with five other PTI district councillors, voted for PML-N’s nominee Sardar Said Ghulam.
The PTI’s leadership was annoyed over the decision and served him a show-cause notice. However, the matter was seemingly settled when the councillor was allowed to clarify his position before the core committee of the party. Later, in December 2015, Shehryar, along with his father former Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl leader Laiq Muhammad Khan decided to join PML-N.
As per unofficial results, PML-N has bagged a seat from Hilkot UC in Mansehra.
Javed Salar has defeated Shah Qabool, an independent candidate who has received support from PTI. Salar received 2,820 votes while Qabool gained 1,705.
Meanwhile, in Haripur - where PTI representatives dominate the district and tehsil levels - Qazi Muhammad Yousuf, paternal uncle of slain PML-N district president Qazi Sajjad defeated PTI’s Nayyar Lodhi with a margin of over 1,600 votes. Yousuf obtained 2,247 votes while Lodhi received 663.
However, in Battagram, PTI’s Fida Muhammad Khan won as district councillor from Kooza Bandi UC with 1,965 votes. His opponent received 1,381 votes. According to unofficial results, PTI’s Amanullah Khan also won the tehsil councillor slot from the same UC.
When contacted, Mansehra district nazim Sardar Said Ghulam said unofficial results suggest the electorate has no confidence in PTI and its promises.
“Initially, the PTI-led government had promised to devolve powers to the grass-roots level,” he said. “When it failed to form tehsil and district governments in a majority of districts in K-P, the party changed its mind and deprived LG representatives from powers conferred on them under K-P LG Act 2013.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2016.
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