The 9,500 voters of PS-128 who couldn’t vote on May 11 have now cast their ballots and the unofficial results are in: Muttahida Quami Movement’s (MQM) candidate, Syed Waqar Hussain Shah, has won the seat by a margin of around 300 votes.
Before the re-polling on Saturday at six polling stations of the constituency, Shah was already in the lead with 23,496 votes. His closest rival, Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat’s Maulana Aurangzeb Farooqui, who contested from the platform of Muttahida Deeni Mahaz (MDM), trailed behind with 21,332 votes.
Polling was distrupted at the six polling stations on May 11 because of a bomb blast in the constituency. The ASWJ chief had then filed a petition with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), requesting re-polling at those stations where the electoral process had been disrupted by the explosion. MQM’s candidate, Shah, was not pleased that the election commission had allowed re-polling, but was still confident that he would emerge victorious.
Three major political parties, Pakistan Peoples Party, Awami National Party and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, had announced ahead of the re-polling that they would boycott the process. This meant that the competition between MQM’s Shah and MDM’s Farooqui would be even closer — and it was. The re-polling at polling stations 25 through 31 - all of which fall in parts of Malir, including Dawood Chali, Tauheedabad and Saudabad - continued without a break from 8am till 5pm. A 13-member team from the election commission oversaw the polls, which took place under the watchful eyes of army, Rangers and police.
Army helicopters which were circling the area kept a watch from above while DG Rangers Major General Rizwan Akhtar and other senior officials from the Rangers and police also visited the polling stations.
About 700 personnel from police, Rangers and the army were responsible for maintaining law and order during re-polling in the constituency. Army personnel were deployed in and outside polling stations along with the other law enforcers.
At the end of polling, the ballot boxes were promptly sealed off and then counting later took place under the supervision of the presiding officers and polling staff.
While talking to The Express Tribune, district East police DIG Capt. (retd) Tahir Naveed said that the re-polling in PS-128 ended peacefully. He added that security arrangements were tightened in order to conduct free and fair elections in a peaceful environment.
“The re-polling ended without a single incident of harassment,” he said. “This suggests that if there are resources and the government wills it, we can hold elections properly.”
Female polling agents were harassed: MQM
During the re-polling in six polling stations of PS-128, female polling agents of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) were harassed, claimed the party on Saturday.
At a press conference, the party’s candidate Syed Waqar Hussain Shah said that mobile phones, polling kits and identity cards were snatched from their polling agents. “Our women agents were harassed and given death threats,” he said. “Equipment was stolen from them, yet these brave women tried to perform their duties.”
Shah also narrated that he was attacked by criminals in the area when he tried to take food for his workers, adding that a few law enforcers saved him.
On the other hand, deputy convener Dr Nusrat Shaukat in a press statement said that the Sindh government consisted of people hailing from the rural areas only. “There is no representation of those who hail from urban Sindh.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 9th, 2013.