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.