The first family of Multan scraped through to a hard-fought win in the by-elections for NA-151 after a neck-and-neck contest with an independent candidate on Thursday.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)’s Abdul Qadir Gilani won by a margin of 4,096 votes, defeating Shaukat Hayat Bosan and winning the seat vacated by his father Yousaf Raza Gilani after his disqualification as the prime minister and member of the National Assembly.
Abdul Qadir secured 64,628 votes, while Bosan, who was supported officially by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Jamaat-e-Islami and unofficially by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), managed to bag 60,532 votes.
The competition remained close throughout the day, without a clear lead. However, the results of the last 25 polling stations confirmed Abdul Qadir as the winner.
Shaukat Bosan told The Express Tribune that, while the elections were transparent, rules and regulations were not observed at many places. “I will file a complaint after consulting with my legal colleagues,” he said.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Abdul Qadir said that his victory was the decision of the larger bench of the people of Pakistan. He said that the people of Pakistan were the real judges and they have given the verdict.
Bosan added that it was not a matter of victory and defeat, adding that the election has clarified one thing: the PPP will face the toughest opposition in the next general elections on grounds of transparency.
The voter turn-out stood at 45%, as the total number of registered voters was 307,871.
Meanwhile, in his felicitation message to Abdul Qadir, President Asif Ali Zardari said that the PPP’s electoral victory in the land of the saints will reverberate as a stark reminder to everyone that it is the people and people alone who pronounce the final verdict and are not afraid of overturning other judgments.
The president termed the victory as vindication for Yousuf Raza Gilani’s sacrifices for upholding the Constitution.
He further said that it was a great victory for his party as it won the election against heavy odds in which all political opponents had joined hands together to defeat PPP, but failed.
President Zardari said that he was confident that as a member of the National Assembly, Abdul Qadir would follow in the footsteps of his father. (ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY HAFEEZ TUNIO IN KARACHI)
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2012.