Hours before the process of repolling ended in 47 polling stations across Tharparkar district on Saturday, it became clear to voters that the violence and rigging complaints that marred polling on May 11 would not be repeated.
And that view was reinforced by the time repolling closed for two National Assembly seats (NA-229 and NA-230) and Sindh Assembly (PS-62 and PS-63 constituencies) in the district.
In the only stray incident of its kind, supporters of a political party unsuccessfully tried to disrupt polling at a station in Chachro town. The army responded in time and arrested a suspect for impeding the process. Following a spate of violence and allegations of massive rigging in the May 11 polls, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) ordered the deployment of military and paramilitary personnel in all the 47 stations during the repolls.
At these constituencies, there was a one-on-one competition between the candidates of Pakistan Peoples Party and the influential Arbab family. Arbabs are supporting Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the NA-230 seat.
For the first time ever, the PPP is seen making inroads in what used to be a stronghold of the Arbabs. The party has already won one of the two PS seats, PS-61, whose results have been announced. It also expects to win the Mithi and Diplo tehsil-based NA-229 seat.
PPP candidate for NA-229 constituency, Faqir Sher Muhammad Bilalani, has won from the constituency, according to unofficial results.
The total votes obtained by Bilalani from 279 polling stations are 86,592. His rival, Arbab Toghachi, finished a close second with 84,922 votes, according to unofficial results.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2013.