Keeping it in the family

Published: July 21, 2012
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Abdul Qadir Gilani addressing a gathering in Multan on Wednesday. PHOTO: APP

Abdul Qadir Gilani addressing a gathering in Multan on Wednesday. PHOTO: APP

Undoubtedly, much to the relief of former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, his son Abdul Qadir Gilani has been able to hang on to NA-151, the seat in Multan vacated by the disqualification of the senior Gilani. The family, of course, considers Multan its very own fiefdom and any loss on the home turf would have been, to put it mildly, highly embarrassing. It is significant that Abdul Qadir won by only 4,096 votes against his closest rival, Shaukat Hayat Bosan, an independent candidate — picking up 64,628 votes as compared with 60,532 by Bosan. The polls remained close right till the end, decided only as the totals came in from the last few polling stations. Bosan was backed by the PML-N and the PTI. The PML-N’s own candidate, Malik Ihsan Bucha, crossed the line over to the PPP camp earlier this month.

The PPP and, of course, the Gilanis have clung on to a traditional bastion of power. There have mercifully been no accusations of large-scale rigging. Bosan, graciously enough, has said that the polls were transparent and spoke only of minor violations of rules and regulations. This is a good omen with the general election not very far off. But it is also true that the PPP has some things to think about. Abdul Qadir’s win came rather narrowly and should lead the party to consider if there are reasons why people may be disgruntled with it. There may still be time to make amends and set things on track. Some recent polls have indicated that the PML-N and the PTI are well poised in Punjab and while the results of these may not be totally reliable, the warning signals may be worth taking heed of.

The poll brings another Gilani into parliament; Abdul Qadir’s brother, Ali Musa Gilani, is already an MNA after having won the NA-148 seat with a convincing margin earlier this year. The politics of family — so entrenched in our political culture and that of south Asia as a whole — continues; new members of the same dynasties come into power. But what will be most significant of all is how well they serve their people and prove correct the faith placed in them.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2012.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Janjua
    Jul 21, 2012 - 12:42AM

    I would say your analysis is quite biased. In fact, everyone in that poll was against the junior gilanni including Punjab Government, PTI and Chief Election Commissioner who is a sitting S.C judge. If anyone has used state machinery then that has to be in Punjab Government and we all know it’s PML (N). Chief Election Commissioner and Inspector General Punjab Police remained there in Multan to make it sure that Gilanni wouldn’t win even then he won.

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  • Mirza
    Jul 21, 2012 - 12:45AM

    The larger bench of people’s court has announced its verdict loud and clear. Gilani Jr. won despite the SC being a party and all the rightwing parties had only one candidate against him. PPP never had a political alliance and contested every election on their own while their opponents had mostly formed a broad based rightwing alliance against them, yet they usually lost. It appears that except some large cities and urban elite, the rural heartland of Pakistan is again going to for PPP. After the decisions of SC this is the second election where PPP has won again. These election results are going to force not PPP but PTI and PML-N to chase JI and other rightwing groups for their survival. PPP and president Zardari are not going to be done away easily. They have majority in most of the provinces and for the first time in the senate, which is not going to change in one election that easily. When the combined opposition cannot win against PPP while it has its back to the wall and fighting for its survival, how can it win the next elections?

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  • choptocut
    Jul 21, 2012 - 1:29AM

    Wondering that why should you think that despite the united opposition (PTI + PML(N)) PPP wins !! IT clearly indicates that people’s party is still People’s party,

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  • choptocut
    Jul 21, 2012 - 1:30AM

    But it indicates that PPP has defeated united opposition (PTI + PML(N)) it means that PPP is still people’s party (not establishments’ like the other two )

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  • Falcon
    Jul 21, 2012 - 2:54AM

    Fully agreed. Multan was expected to become one of their strongest holds after the crazy amount of money they have spent in their constituencies. However, it doesn’t seem to be the case. Putting together marginal electoral gains, bi-election dynamics, and only indirect support to the competing candidate, it is quite apparent that PPP won’t be able to pull it off in general elections anymore.

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  • waqas
    Jul 21, 2012 - 11:33AM

    Apropos to the above comments , I would like to draw the attention of all the readers towards the point that in 2008 election; gillani got more than 70000 votes, so despite four years continuous fund allocation to multan and a loin share in Benazir Income Support , PPP even don’t get the previous numbers of votes and their votes reduced to approx 15% , where as the relatively popular sikander bosson got approx 40000 votes in 2008 and now in this by election his brother got 60000 (+) votes , which clearly shows the upward trend.

    So imagine when the next election come and parties will start full fledge campaign for their candidates , what will happen to gillanis.

    Get ready for the change buddies as change is now inevitable :))

    InshaALLAH we will make Pakistan a land for living !!!Recommend

  • Awans
    Jul 21, 2012 - 11:51AM

    Before the election people were expecting that Gailani will win with a margin of more than 50,000 votes but infact PPP had seen that things are not the way as it were in the past. But I have one Problem that PTI which is there to infact help the PPP by dividing vote Bank of Opposition will ruin everything as Opposition needs to be united while PTI is not a Good divider of Opposition in Punjab which is unfortunate.

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  • Toticalling
    Jul 21, 2012 - 11:52AM

    It was a surprise for me. When pundits calling the current government so unpopular and it won in Multan. If I was Muhammad Al, the boxer, should say to Media, eat your words. But no what hear is that the vote bank for PPP has decreased. I think if you watch the world, incumbent government always get less votes, including mid term elections in USA.
    But because PPP has won, I fear ‘powers’ to be might think of some undemocratic ways to change. This will make the party more popular, but as they say those who do not learn from history, will see history repeating

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  • Iftikhar-ur-Rehman
    Jul 21, 2012 - 1:02PM

    PML(N) AND PTI are still licking their wounds!!!!!

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  • Abdullah
    Jul 21, 2012 - 11:23PM

    Democracy is the counting of heads, not what’s in them!

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