HARIPUR: According to unofficial results compiled from all polling stations, Pakistan Muslim League – N's Babar Nawaz won the race for the National Assembly seat from Haripur's NA-19 constituency, with Dr Raja Amir Zaman of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) coming in at second place, DawnNews reported.
Per consolidated unofficial results from all polling stations, Babar Nawaz bagged 116,624 votes with PTI's Zaman accumulating 78,512 votes.
Voting for the by-election in National Assembly constituency NA-19, Haripur, ended peacefully at 5pm Sunday with no reported disruptions.
While nine candidates are contesting for NA membership from the constituency, the real contest is between BabarNawaz of the PML-N and Dr Raja Amir Zaman of the PTI.
The by-election garnered attention after it was announced that biometric machines will be tested at 30 polling stations. An official of the Election Commission of Pakistan told Dawn that biometric machines would be used to authenticate voters before issuing ballot papers at polling stations as part of a pilot project.
He said the success of biometric machines would determine if it was viable to spend billions on introducing the device in the next general election.
The official said the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and a cellular network provider (Ufone) would render technical assistance in this regard. The pilot project, he added, was in line with suggestions of political parties as had been conveyed by the Electoral Reforms Committee of Parliament.
To ensure a peaceful environment during polling, soldiers of the Pakistan Army had also been stationed in the constituency in addition to policemen, while the local administration had imposed section 144 to ban exhibition of weapons.
In the May 2013 general election, Dr Raja Amir Zaman was declared the returned candidate from the NA-19 constituency after securing 116,979 votes against PML-N’s Omar Ayub’s 114,807. A recount was ordered, but Dr Zaman remained the successful candidate, though his original victory margin of 2,172 was reduced to 1,304.
Consequently, Ayub challenged the result before an election tribunal, which, in its judgement on Dec 31, 2013, ordered re-polling in seven stations instead of declaring the election void.
The tribunal’s order was challenged by Dr Zaman before the apex court, which dismissed the same. Consequently, he filed a review petition against the judgement, which was accepted and his opponent was de-seated.
Take a look: SC orders re-election in Haripur's NA-19.
Omar Ayub later announced he would not contest the by-poll, saying he was looking after his mother who was seriously ill.
“My mother is not well. She is bed-ridden and it is my prime duty to look after her. It is difficult for me to participate in the by-elections.”
- — An earlier version of the story had incorrectly named the PML-N candidate. the error is regretted*