MULTAN: Amir Dogar, an independent candidate who had the support of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, won the NA-149 by-election on Thursday after defeating Javed Hashmi, who was supported by the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N.
According to unofficial results announced by Returning Officer Mohammad Shahid, Mr Dogar bagged 52,321 votes against Mr Hashmi’s 38,393.
“Dogar has won and I congratulate him from the core of my heart,” said Mr Hashmi late on Thursday. He said he was grateful to the PML-N as well for its support.
“The PML-N local leadership worked hard. Since I left the PML-N, some PML-N workers had grievances against me,” he conceded.
Mr Hashmi said that due to lack of sufficient time and health issues he was not able to run his campaign effectively. He said the result was not according to his expectations.
PPP candidate fails to make an impression
He said Amir Dogar was supported by the high-level leadership of the PTI as his announcement was made in a public gathering in which Shah Mehmood Qureshi campaigned for him.
Celebrations started at the Dogar House after results from polling stations started pouring in.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Mr Hashmi’s traditional rival and PTI vice chairman, said: “Today, Multan has changed the Pakistani politics.”
Speaking to media, Mr Qureshi said Multan had taken two wickets in one ball.
The PPP’s Dr Javed Siddiqui, who was supported by former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and other mainstream leaders like Makhoom Shahabuddin and Senator Islamuddin Sheikh, failed to make any impression. He secured 6,326 votes.
Earlier, talking to media, Mr Hashmi was of the view that governments should not be changed through agitation, but through ballot.
“Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri also have the only legal way of change that is ballot. I have lost the ballot but I have succeeded in making my point that all political forces should focus on change through ballot,” he said.
He said nations could not be run by changing governments through protests.
He said his voters had complained that he always resigned. “But I told them that I resigned from the PTI presidency and National Assembly seat for principles as I had no other option,” he said.
He said that he had not sought the PML-N support but nevertheless he was thankful for their backing. “Although there were some misunderstandings between us as PML-N was not able to support as it was possible for it directly,” he said.
He said that he was going to China for medical treatment.
Mr Dogar said that the PTI had supported him for which he was thankful to it.
Polling started at 8am and concluded at 5pm. Foolproof security arrangements were made by the district administration. There were 286 polling stations, out of which 90 were declared as sensitive and 16 as most sensitive.
There were 18 candidates in the contest. However, the competition was largely between Mr Hashmi and Mr Dogar.
Minor clashes were reported at various polling stations between supporters of Mr Hashmi and Mr Dogar. However, polling was conducted in a peaceful manner by and large.
PML-N and PTI supporters alleged casting of bogus votes at polling station No132. A female supporter of PML-N alleged that a female presiding officer was involved in rigging. Rangers were called in to control the situation.
Returning Officer Mohammad Shahid told media that polling was suspended for 45 minutes at the polling station. However, no extra time was given and polling concluded at 5pm.
Mr Dogar alleged during polling that presiding officers were misusing their authority in favour of Mr Hashmi.
The Election Commission of Pakistan for the first time used special ink instead of magnetic. According to the ECP, it would also be used in future elections. The ECP claimed that by using this ink the commission would be able to verify thumbprints with 100 per cent accuracy.
Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2014