The Pakistan Muslim League - Functional (PML-F), that leads the opposition in the Sindh Assembly, will lose one of its 11 seats to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) as the Sanghar-based PS-81 goes to Asghar Ali Junejo after the vote recount.
The Hyderabad election tribunal had ordered a four-day recounting exercise in 30 polling stations which concluded on Friday. The recount gave a 2,440 vote lead to the PPP candidate, Junejo. However, the tribunal has yet to officially notify the results of the recount.
Junejo had bagged as many as 34,175 votes in the June 26 by-elections in the constituency. He was defeated by the former opposition leader Jam Madad Ali by a margin of 1,373 votes. Talking to the media in Sanghar, Junejo said that he kept claiming all along that he had polled higher votes than Ali and that the results were manipulated through the counting process.
However, Ali blamed the PPP government in Sindh for using the official machinery in favour of Junejo. “I have won from this constituency in the past as well,” he said. “The constituency’s people support me.”
The Election Commission of Pakistan had called for by-elections in the constituency after the disqualification of the PPP candidate, Muhammad Khan Junejo, over a fake degree case. He had won the May 11, 2013, general elections from PS-81 against Ali. Sanghar district has remained a traditional stronghold of the PML-F. But the PPP made political inroads in the district, winning two of the six PS and two of the three NA constituencies. With the addition of one more PS seat of Junejo, the PPP will get three PS seats from the district.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2014.