In light of speculation that the NA-151 by-election between Shaukat Bosan and Abdul Qadir Gilani became such a closely contested fight only due to Bosan receiving a the combined endorsement from the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-insaaf (PTI), the PTI has refuted that Bosan receiving any support from either.
Abdul Qadir, son of former PM Gilani won the seat vacated by his father by securing 64,628 votes. Shaukat Bosan, brother of former federal minister Sikandar Hayat Bosan (who has lately joined the PTI) secured 60,532 votes but his achievement was noted as a result of support from major opposition parties including the PML-N, PTI and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).
“The PML-N did not support Bosan,” said former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi while talking to The Express Tribune. “Bosan had neither the ticket nor the support of PTI but managed to give a tough time to the ruling PPP. The independent candidate had our sympathies but neither we nor our leadership participated in his election campaign.”
In addition, Qureshi revealed that the PML-N Multan chapter split with its president Muhammad Bilal Butt who supported Bosan, whereas a local leader of the party Malik Ashiq Ali Shira supported the Gilani camp. “The PML-N candidate withdrew his nomination papers, however the reason PML-N did not participate in the by-elections was its fear of ending up in third-place,” he added.
Responding to a question about the support of JI to Bosan, Qureshi said that religious parties have never contested elections from the NA-151 constituency.
On the other hand, Qureshi expressed his surprise over the ‘jubilation’ of the ruling camp. In his opinion, for the election to be so closely contested despite being the constituency of the former prime minister should be an ‘eye-opener’ for the PPP and Yousaf Raza Gilani in particular. This is the constituency where billions of rupees had been spent over the last four years, thousands of jobs given, and funds from the Benazir Income Support Programme invested, he pointed out.
When asked whether there was any possibility of forging an alliance with the PML-N in the future, Shah Mehmood Qureshi said “There is no change in the PTI’s stance of not going into an alliance with any party.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2012.
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