KARACHI: Pakistan Peoples Party's (PPP) candidate Saeed Ghani won the PS-114 by-polls, securing a lead of more than 5,000 votes over the MQM’s candidate, Kamran Tessori, according to unofficial results on Sunday.
Voters’ turnout remained low with 25 per cent and the winning PPP candidate bagged 23,840 votes while the runner-up MQM-P got 18,106 votes in 92 polling stations across the constituency.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N)Ali Akbar Gujjar, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Najeeb Haroon and Jamaat-e-Islami’s Zahoor Ahmed Jadoon bagged 5,353, 5,098 and 1,661 votes, respectively.
Ghani appeared the strongest candidate since the beginning of his election campaign because not only the constituency was his home ground but he was also backed by labor organisations, minorities’ alliances and two religious political parties, Jamiat Ulema Islam (Noorani) and Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen.
MQM-P’s Tessori had the support of Muhajir Qaumi Movement -Haqiqi, amounting to almost non-existent support, and of some minority organisations. MQM-H chief Afaq Ahmed had announced to support the MQM-P candidate just two days before the polling.
Shortly after the unofficial results showed Ghani victorious in the by-polls, PPP leaders and workers flocked outside his residence in Chanesar Goth to celebrate. Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and other leaders of the party, including Qaim Ali Shah and Faryal Talpur, also joined the celebrations.
The PPP candidate tweeted
Meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari congratulated Saeed Ghani for his win.
According to a statement issued by the party, Bilawal said: “We won mini-Pakistan (PS-114) today and we will, Inshallah, win in whole of Pakistan in 2018 general elections.”
The PPP chairman said that it was the power of Bhuttoism with which a son of labour leader defeated rich capitalists having support of every corner except the people.
Earlier, polling was carried out amid tight security arrangements in the neighbourhood as authorities imposed Section 144 in the densely populated locality.
Political workers clash
A tense situation was witnessed at Government Boys Secondary School, Chanesar Goth as PPP activists allegedly thrashed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) polling agent Sultan Laasi. However, the situation was brought under control after paramilitary Rangers’ intervention.
PTI leader Imran Ismail said the ruling PPP was using ‘goons’ brought from other areas of the city against workers of their opponents.
A guide to the PS-114 Karachi showdown
Activists of others political parties including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the MQM-P also clashed in different areas.
The voters’ turnout was very low in the morning but it is slowly picking up the pace, Rangers officials deputed at a polling station told The Express Tribune. “Female voters are coming in low numbers.”
Media persons were allowed inside polling stations after thorough identification. Earlier, presiding officers and officials of the paramilitary force did not allow media persons inside the polling stations, saying the passes issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to journalists appeared bogus. They further said no information regarding the passes and media coverage was passed on to them by the electoral body.
To facilitate voters, a complaint cell has also been established at the election commission's office.
According to the election commission spokesperson, people can lodge their complaints by calling 021-99203387/99203390, sending a fax on 021-99206646 or by emailing [email protected]@gmail.com.
DG Rangers visits polling station
DG Rangers Major General Muhammad Saeed visited visited the polling station at Boys Secondary School in Chanesar Goth. Speaking to the media, he reiterated that the constituency remained at peace apart from the scuffle at a polling station. He said two people who were arrested earlier. One was carrying a 9mm pistol while another was trying to recast his vote when he was rounded up.
PTI secures religious parties’ support in PS-114 by-election
Meanwhile, officials of the election commission handed over Android mobile phones to all presiding officers to enable them to directly send the election results to Islamabad through use of the 'Result Management System'.
According to the provincial election commission, this technology is being used for the first time in Pakistan to counter rigging.
After weeks of vigorous campaigning by political parties, the by-elections in PS-114 are scheduled to be held today (Sunday). Around 27 candidates, belonging to different parties and independent groups, are contesting the polls in the constituency comprising 92 polling stations.
The main contestants are PPP Senator Saeed Ghani, MQM-P's Kamran Tessori, PTI's Muhammad Najeeb Haroon and PML-N's Ali Akbar Gujjar.
In the past, this constituency has remained with either PML-N or MQM. But for the first time, PPP and PTI have nominated strong candidates and organised aggressive campaigns.
27 candidates to contest PS-114 by-polls
According to the election commission officials, there are 193,892 total votes registered in the constituency where 92 presiding officers, 368 assistant presiding officers and 368 polling officers will perform their duties.
Strict security measures have been taken with the deployment of Rangers and police inside and outside the polling stations while army personnel will remain on standby to deal with any untoward incident.