GUJRANWALA: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's Nasir Cheema turned out victorious after unofficial results emerged from Gujranwala's constituency PP-97, de-seating PML-N's Ashraf Warraich, who had been the victor in the constituency before a tribunal order re-election in 33 polling stations.
According to unofficial results from all 33 polling stations, PTI's Cheema bagged a total of 10,405 votes while PML-N's Warraich could secure 9,966 votes.
Earlier on Sunday, polling process at PP-97 constituency's 33 polling stations in Ghakkhar Town and Qila Dedar Singh areas of Gujranwala city ended before Iftar.
PML-N candidate Ashraf Warraich and PTI candidate Nasir Cheema were the main contenders for the re-polls, with around 52,550 voters registered in the said 33 stations.
Strict security measures were taken to maintain law and order situation during the elections with more than a thousand policemen deployed in the area to avert any untoward incident.
Some scuffles were reported from various spots in the city and arrests were also made, however overall security situation remained under the control of law enforcers.
Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) candidate Ashraf Warraich had won the seat from the constituency during the 2013 general elections. Nasir Cheema, who was then affiliated with the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and later joined the PTI, had challenged the results in an election tribunal while leveling rigging accusations against his opponent.
Nasir Cheema had alleged that his rival had managed to cast 15 thousand bogus votes in his favour.
Cheema’s counsel had also presented the record of 33 polling stations before the tribunal.
In its ruling over the case, the tribunal, headed by Justice (Retd) Kazim Ali Malik ordered the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold fresh polls in the 33 polling stations.
Earlier during the 2013 polls, 29 candidates had participated in the general elections. PML-N’s candidate had scored 29,756 votes, independent candidate Mian Ghulam Sarver stood second with 23,871 votes, Nasir Cheema from the platform of PML-Q got 22,335 and PTI’s candidate Qasim Akram Warraich scored 8,011 votes.
After cancellation of results from the 33 polling stations, PML-N’s Warraich and PML-Q’s Cheema were left with 16,250 and 17,124 votes respectively.
However, in the current scenario, the then independent candidate Mian Ghulam Sarver has withdrawn in the favour of PML-N’s Warraich while PML-Q’s Cheema has switched to PTI.
All anti-PML-N forces, including the Pakistan People Party, Jamaat-i-Islami and Pakistan Awami Tehreek, are also backing Cheema.
Interestingly Cheema who is now a member of PTI contests with the mark of cycle, instead of bat as the ECP didn’t changed the electoral marks of candidates.
Ashraf Warraich belongs to a family having an agricultural background.
Warraich had joined the political arena in 2002, when he contested in NA-98 constituency from the platform of PML-Junejo group. He bagged 21,207 votes but failed to win the seat.
Later he joined the PML-Q and then switched to PML-N.
In 2013, he contested the polls PP-97 constituency and managed to secure a victory.
Nasir Cheema belongs to a family politically traditionally associated with PML-N. His elder brother Azam Cheema was elected MPA four times on the PML-N’s ticket.
Nasir Cheema himself remained district president of PML-N during 1985 to 1995. Later he switched his loyalties to PML-Q and was elected as a MPA in 2004.
He had also contested the 2008 general elections but remained fail to win a seat. He later joined PTI.