A week after election results in NA-149 sent shock waves across country’s political landscape, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday announced schedule for by-polls in NA-153 Multan. The election will be held on November 29.
The National Assembly seat had fallen vacant after Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawmaker Dewan Ashiq Hussain Bukhari was disqualified by the poll supervisory body for providing incorrect information in his nomination papers and possessing a fake degree.
Bukhari, who is known for switching political loyalties, had won last year’s polls against his arch rival Rana Muhammad Qasim Noon, who had contested on Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) ticket.
A heavyweight in the constituency, Bukhari had won the seat for two consecutive terms in 2008 on Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) ticket, and in 2013 on the ruling party’s ticket.
Interestingly, Bukhari’s arch rival, on whose application he was disqualified by the tribunal is also known for switching sides.
Before contesting the 2013 general election on PPP’s ticket, Noon had contested as an independent candidate and in 2003 he contested the elections on PML-Q’s ticket.
Analysts see another hotly-contested election between the Bukhari and Noon families in the by-polls slated for next month.
However given the history of candidates, it is unclear who will be contesting on which party’s ticket at a time when Imran Khan’s PTI has made inroads in Southern Punjab.
Earlier this months, PTI backed candidate swept the by-polls in NA-149, a constituency Javed Hashmi has won several times.
The ROs will start issuing nomination forms to intending candidates from today (Wednesday).
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2014.