The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Saturday claimed victory in the NA-75 by-elections even though the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) stated that results of 20 polling stations in the constituency were "feared compromised".
The PTI also lost the by-polls in its stronghold, Nowshera PK-63, with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate winning the seat.
The ECP had restrained authorities from announcing unofficial results of NA-75 Sialkot-VI as both the ruling party and PML-N claimed victory in the constituency.
However, Information Minister Shibli Faraz said the ruling party had won the seat by "over 7,000 votes" and it was the seat that was lost by PTI by over 30,000 votes during the 2018 general elections.
Results received by our polling agents in NA 75 Daska suggest we have won the election by over 7000 votes. An election we had lost by over 30000 in the last election.— Senator Shibli Faraz (@shiblifaraz) February 20, 2021
Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain congratulated the PTI candidate from the constituency and urged the ECP to release the result "immediately". The seat is traditionally considered a bastion of the PML-N.
علی اسجد ملہی کو ڈسکہ کا معرکہ سر کرنے کی مبارک الیکشن کمیشن فوری طور پر نتیجے کا اعلان کرے، #PTI کے کارکنان کے صبر کو نہ آزمایا جائے احترام قانون کا ہو گا نون کا نہیں۔۔۔۔— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) February 20, 2021
On February 19, by-polls were held in NA-45 Kurram-1, NA-75 Sialkot-VI, PP-51 Gujranwala-1 and PK-63 Nowshera-3.
In Sialkot, the district returning officer and returning officer of NA-75 had informed the ECP that they feared compromised results from 20 polling stations.
They further informed the ECP that a fair inquiry was required over the matter and announcing results before any inquiry will not be possible.
In a press release, ECP expressed its displeasure over ‘no response’ by the Inspector General Police (IGP), Commissioner and Deputy Commission when ECP informed them about the Presiding Officers who had gone missing.
“Later ECP contacted with Chief Secretary Punjab at 3am who ensured to trace the missing officers and polling bags but later he [chief secretary] was not available.
At 6am, the POs along with polling bags were brought before the ECP officials.
The ECP had restrained the DRO and RO from announcing the results and further ordered to bring those responsible to book after conducting an inquiry.
It also directed the provincial election commissioner and joint provincial election commissioner to visit the offices of DRO and RO to probe the matter.
The election commission stated that the incident makes the lack of administration and security evident.
Loss in Nowshera
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mehmood Khan has taken strong notice of PTI's defeat in the Nowshera by-election and has directed the authorities concerned to submit a a detailed report on the matter on the basis of which a future plan of action would be formulated.
Provincial Minister for Labor and Culture Shaukat Yousafzai's said that winning both the National Assembly seats in the by-elections was a great achievement for PTI as it was contesting elections against 11 parties.
“Eleven parties together could not successfully stop the PTI,” Yousafzai added. “Today is a moment of reflection for those who use the slogan of stealing mandates. Despite all the bullying in Daska, PML-N lost.”
If the opposition parties had done something for the people during their tenure, they would not be so embarrassed today, Yousafzai added.
He further added that defeat in Nowshera was the result of internal differences within the ruling party.
PTI’s Malik Fakhar Zaman won NA-45 Kurram-I by-elections, according to unofficial results.
In NA-45 Kurram, the PTI candidate secured 16,911 votes while Jamiat Ulema-e Islam's (JUI) Muhammad Jamil came in second place by securing 15,761 votes.
Independent candidate, Haji Syed Jamal secured 15,580 votes.
Twenty-seven candidates contested the by-election for NA-45 Kurram. The seat fell vacant due to the demise of MNA Munir Orakzai
PP-51 Wazirabad controversy
On Friday night, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz claimed that her party workers caught PTI workers “red-handed” allegedly trying to steal ballot papers during the by-poll for Punjab's PP-51 Wazirabad constituency.
Taking to Twitter, Maryam shared scores of videos purportedly showing unidentified persons carrying white bags and surrounded by enraged PML-N workers.
“PTI people caught red-handed stealing bags full of votes by PMLN MPA Adil Chatta and Ataa Tarar. Seal was also broken. Police was a part of the plan to steal votes for PTI," she wrote on her Twitter handle.
Meanwhile, the ECP took notice of the videos shared by the PML-N leader and summoned a report from the returning officer.