ISLAMABAD: The votes in the biggest ever by-elections in Pakistan’s history have now almost completely been counted. By and large the polls were conducted in an orderly manner although it has been marred by few allegations of rigging, terrorist attack on Pakistan Army troops and women being denied the right to vote.
The polls are not expected to shatter the status quo in the country’s political discourse; however it will indicate the mood of the public regarding the incumbent political parties.
No massive change was witnessed in Sindh and Balochistan, like in the May 11 general elections, as the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) again topped the electoral race bagging 18 of 39 national and provincial seats.
However, few unexpected results have emerged in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.
The National Assembly seat vacated by PTI chief Imran Khan in Peshawar has been claimed by his May 11 rival, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour of Awami National Party (ANP).
PTI’s Asad Umar has defeated his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz rival Chaudhry Ashraf Gujjar to win the Islamabad seat, vacated by Javed Hashmi while Shmasun Nisa Memon – mother of the May 11 winner and subsequently disqualified by the SC, Sadiq Memon – has defeated PML-N’s Syed Riaz Hussain Shah Sherazi to win NA-237 Thatha seat.
Meanwhile, Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan has said the commission has taken notice of the news of counting of votes at some polling stations before the valid time of 5:00 pm, APP reported.
“Counting cannot be started even one minute before the legal time. We have taken notice of the matter and would ask from the concerned presiding officers,” he told the media while announcing the first result of the by-polls.
23:50— After conclusion of vote count in NA-48 Islamabad constituency, Asad Umar of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf has been declared winner unofficially over his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz rival Chaudhry Ashraf Gujjar. Umar bagged 48,073 votes whereas Ashraf Gujjar managed to secure 41,186 votes.
23:45— According to unofficial results, Shams-ul-Nisa of Pakistan People’s Party has been declared winner over Riaz Shah Sherazi of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz in NA-237 Thatha, Sindh. The PPP candidate secured 81,510 while Sherazi of PML-N bagged 61,538 votes.
23:00— Sardar Shafqat Hayat Baloch of PML-N has won the by-election in NA-68 Sargodha by defeating PTI candidate Malik Nazir Ahmad Sobhe, according to unofficial results of all 320 polling stations. Baloch secured 69,431 votes whereas Sobhe bagged 43,508 votes.
22:45— According to unofficial preliminary results of NA-27 Lakki Marwat, Col. Amirullah of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) is ahead with 14,767 votes over Maulana Attaur Rehman of JUI-F who secured 7,960 votes.
22:30— Shazia Mari, a candidate of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is leading in by-election of NA-235-Sanghar with 36,355 votes, according to progressive results of 52 per cent polling stations. The Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) candidate, Khuda Bakhsh Daras was trailing with 35,522 votes.
21:50— Vote count is concluded in NA-1 Peshawar and according to unofficial results, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour of Awami National Party (ANP) has won the by-poll against his PTI competitor Gul Badshah by securing 29,178 votes. Badshah managed to bag 19,464 votes.
21:30— Unofficial preliminary results suggest Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) candidate Mohammad Ali is leading his competitor Naeem Sheikh of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) by securing 18,100 votes. Shiekh is trailing with 2,057 votes after vote counts in 55 polling stations of NA-254 Karachi constituency.
21:00— Independent candidate Nawabzada Tarique Magsi has won by-election in PB-32 Jhal Magsi of Balochistan province. According to unofficial results, Magsi secured 21,280 votes and his political rival, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate Sardar Dhani Bakhsh received 4,228 votes.
20:40— According to preliminary and unofficial results, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour of Awami National (ANP) is ahead of his rival candidate Gul Badshah of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) by securing 18,585 votes in NA-1 Peshawar constituency. After almost 50 per cent vote count, PTI's Badshah is trailing with 10,900 votes.
20:00— The chief election commissioner, on the directive of Chief Justice Peshawar High Court Dost Muhammad Khan, has withheld the by-polls results in NA-5 Nowshera, NA-27 Lakki Marwat and PK-27 Mardan. The PHC chief justice, by taking suo motu notice, had also ordered to arrest Tribal Jirga members or individuals involved in barring women form voting in the said constituencies.
16:15— None of the 456 registered women voters casted their ballots during the by-polls held in polling station No 95 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Swabi area.
16:00— Women were reportedly stopped from ballotting their votes during by-polls in Mandi Bahauddin's PP-188 constituency in Punjab.
14:30— Polling was suspended in Shikarpur's PS-12 constituency after the recovery of a bag full of votes. One suspect was also taken into custody in this regard.
14:15— Acting chief election commissioner Justice Tassaduq Jilani visited various polling stations in Karachi during which he said that action would be taken if any information regarding rigging was received. He added that the use of mobile phones was banned to ensure transparency of polls and that it was difficult to pre-maturely comment on the turnout.
13:45— A clash between two rival groups in Sangarh's NA-235 claimed the life of at least one person and injured five others.
12:40 — A clash took place between two political parties in Punjab Assembly's PP-193 (Okara) constituency, following which one person was arrested. Panic spread amongst people after the clash due to which polling has been temporarily suspended in the area.
**12:35 **— Women were prevented from casting their votes in several polling stations on Mianwali's NA-71 constituency in Punjab.
12:24 — Women have been 'barred' from voting in several polling stations of Lakki Marwat's NA-27 constituency.
**12:06 **— The ECP has decided to monitor vote-casting by women. It has moreover directed presiding officers to separate female voter results from their male counterparts.
11:40 — Women have been barred from voting in Nowshera's NA-5 constituency.
11:28 — A low voter turnout was reported from most parts of the country. According to media reports, few people turned up for voting due to a general lack of interest in the by-election.
11:12 — A clash took place between supporters of Malik Noor Rabbani and Jamshed Dasti in Muzaffargarh's NA-177 constituency. Later, army personnel intervened to resolve the matter.
10:55 — During by-polling in Karachi's NA-254 constituency, Pakistani army personnel prevented duplicate identity card holders from voting. The army personnel said that as per the orders of the ECP, only those with a real identity card could cast their vote. However, individuals with duplicate identity cards demanded that they should be allowed to vote.
10:32 — Acting CEC Justice Tassaduq Jilani visited various polling stations in Lahore and expressed satisfaction on the way polling was being conducted. He said out of the 41 polling stations, not even one had complained of poll rigging.
NA SEATS: The National Assembly constituencies where by-elections are being held include NA-1 (Peshawar), NA-5 (Nowshera), NA-13 (Swabi), NA-25 (D.I. Khan-cum-Tank), NA-27 (Lakki Marwat), NA-48 (Islamabad), NA-68 (Sargodha), NA-71 (Mianwali), NA-83 (Faisalabad), NA-129 (Lahore), NA-177 (Muzaffargarh), NA-235 (Sanghar), NA-254 (Karachi) and NA-262 (Killa Abdullah).
Earlier, NA-1 and NA-71 seats had been vacated by PTI chief Imran Khan who chose to retain NA-56 (Rawalpindi). Mr Khan had contested for four NA seats and lost only one in Lahore to incumbent National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.
The NA-68 seat had been vacated by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who retained his home constituency (NA-120 Lahore).
NA-129 had been left by Shahbaz Sharif who retained his Punjab Assembly seat to become chief minister.
NA-5 and NA-13 seats had been vacated by Pervez Khatak and Asad Qaisar of the PTI who retained their provincial assembly seats and were made chief minister and speaker of the KP Assembly, respectively.
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had decided to quit NA-27 and retain NA-24. The Maulana had also won the NA-25 (D.I. Khan) seat where by-election has been postponed for a few weeks because of threat of terrorist attacks.
NA-177 had been vacated by Jamshed Ahmad Dasti, NA-235 by Pir Sadruddin Shah Rashdi of the PML-F and NA-216 by Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai. They had won more than one seat.
NA-83 and NA-254 seats fell vacant after the death of contesting candidates.
By-elections will also be held for 15 seats of the Punjab Assembly, four of the Sindh Assembly, three of the Balochistan Assembly and four of the KP Assembly.
PUNJAB ASSEMBLY: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had vacated his provincial assembly seat (PP-6) and chose to retain his National Assembly seat.
The election in PP-51 could not be held due to death of Mohammad Amjad Rafique. Monis Elahi of the PML-Q gave up his PP-118 seat.
Khawaja Mohammad Asif of the PML-N had decided to quit PP-123 and retain NA seat to become Minister for Water and Power.
PP-161 and PP-247 had been vacated by Shahbaz Sharif and PP-243 by Zulfiqar Ali Khosa.
BALOCHISTAN ASSEMBLY: By-elections will be held in three constituencies — PB-29, PB-32 and PB-44.
KP ASSEMBLY: By-elections will be held in four constituencies -— KP-23 vacated by former chief minister Amir Haider Khan Hoti, KP-27 by PTI chief Imran Khan, KP-42 by Fareed Khan and KP-70 by another former chief minister Akram Khan Durrani.
SINDH ASSEMBLY: By-elections will be held in PS-12, PS-95, PS-103 and PS-64.