By-elections were held in two constituencies on Thursday. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf candidate Dr Haider Ali Khan won in Swat for the provincial constituency PK-86 Khawazakhela with 1,500 votes lead, says an unofficial result.
The PML-N’s Sardar Khan took 13,490 votes. Meanwhile, Pakistan People’s Party finally succeeded in winning the provincial assembly seat PS-35 Baqrani. PPP candidate Suhail Anwar Sial defeated his rival Shafqat Hussain Unnar with a big margin.
In Swat, the Election Commission established 85 polling stations, including 29 for men and 29 for women; 1,34,687 voters were registered here. Around 27 polling stations were for both male and female voters. There were 72,987 male voters and 61,837 female voters. Polling started at 9 am and continued till 5 pm. There was a public holiday in the constituency and strict security measures were in place.
The ECP appointed District and Sessions Judge of Swat as District Returning Officer and Civil Judge Khwazakhela Shaukatullah Shah as returning officer for the by-election. On January 9, an Election Tribunal headed by Shah Jee Rehman disqualified (PML-N) MPA Qaimoos Khan for concealing facts about his educational degree and ordered a re-election in PK-86. The tribunal then directed the ECP to hold fresh election in the constituency. Sources said the turnout was higher than in previous elections here. PTI activists took to the roads and celebrated the success of their candidate.
Meanwhile, polling commenced at 118 stations at 8 am in PS-35 Baqrani and continued till 5 pm. Many of the ruling party MNAs and MPAs including Dr. Ramesh Kumar, Gul Mohammad Jakhrani, Ayaz Soomro, Mumtaz Jakhrani, Kulsoom Chandio and others were seen visiting different polling stations, while MPA Kulsoom Chandio was performing the duty of polling agent at Mud Bahoo polling station.
According to unofficial results from more than 80 polling stations out of 118, PPP candidate Suhail Anwar Sial was leading with more than 41,000 votes, while Shafqat Unnar was second with more than 16,500 votes. Turnout remained at around 30 to 35 per cent. In the general elections of 2013, Sial, who was supported by the PPP, received 21,000 votes and lost to the late Altaf Hussain Unnar.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2014.
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