KARACHI: Pakistan Peoples Party candidate Senator Saeed Ghani won the by-election on a provincial assembly seat, PS-114, in Karachi’s Mehmoodabad area on Sunday.
According to unconfirmed and unofficial results, the PPP candidate secured 23,840 votes against his closest rival Kamran Tessori of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, who got 18,106 votes.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Ali Akbar Gujjar became third as he got 5,353 votes; followed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Engineer Najeeb Haroon (5,098 votes) and Jamaat-i-Islami’s Zahoor Jadoon bagged 1,661 votes.
The voters’ turnout remains less than 30 per cent
A total of 27 candidates were in the run, but the actual contest was between the candidates of the PPP, MQM, PTI, PML-N and JI.
The seat fell vacant after Irfanullah Marwat — who won the seat in the 2013 general elections on the PML-N ticket by defeating MQM candidate Rauf Siddiqui — was unseated as the election result was declared void by an election tribunal.
This time Mr Marwat was not in the field as he supported the PTI candidate.
Although it was a by-election, the constituency witnessed a great hustle and bustle which was not even seen in general elections. From Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to Dr Farooq Sattar and central leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf to JI chief Siraj-ul-Haq, all came to the provincial assembly constituency to campaign for their respective candidates.
The total number of votes in the constituency was 193,892 — 112,203 male and 81,689 female. A total of 92 polling stations were set up and 15 of them were declared extremely sensitive; 33 sensitive and 44 normal. Around 879 people, including 92 presiding officers and 368 assistant presiding officers, performed election duties.
Polling started at 8am and continued till 5pm without any break. Except one incident at Chanesar Goth, the polling remained peaceful in the presence of police and Rangers.
Strict security measures were taken inside the polling stations, where personnel of Rangers were deployed in and outside the polling booths.
The contesting parties established their election camps at a distance from polling stations where voters were given assistance.
The PPP and MQM also set up separate camps for female voters to acquaint them with the voting procedure.
During the polling, contesting parties traded allegations of vote rigging against each other.
At one spot in Chanesar Goth, tension gripped the locality when news of manhandling of a polling agent by PPP workers reached. Supporter of rival candidates started shouting slogans against each other and forcibly tried to enter the polling station. However, Rangers arrived at the scene and prevented the situation from deteriorating.
Later, Rangers director general Maj Gen Mohammad Said and senior police officials and the provincial election commissioner visited the polling station at Chanesar Goth.
PPP leaders Waqar Mehdi, candidate Saeed Ghani, Nabil Gabol, MQM-P chief Dr Farooq Sattar, Aamir Khan, candidate Kamran Tessori, PTI’s Asad Omar, Imran Ismail, Arif Alvi, Haleem Adil Shaikh and other leaders of the contesting parties also reached the scene and spent most of the time at their respective camps in Chanesar Goth.
Acting Sindh Election Commissioner Rana Pervez Anwar told reporters that the ECP did not receive any written complaint of rigging.
PPP’s Saeed Ghani said that a large number of Rangers personnel were deployed in Chanesar Goth to harass PPP voters. Terming it a calculated move, he alleged that their voters were stopped from casting votes at a number of polling stations.
MQM leader Dr Sattar accused the election staff of partiality at the behest of the PPP at polling stations in Chanesar Goth, where PPP activists maltreated his party’s chief polling agent.
PTI candidate Haroon also accused the PPP of using government machinery and organised rigging. He also accused the MQM of rigging.
JI candidate Jadoon claimed that the PPP and MQM had hijacked the election process.
PML-N candidate Gujjar said that a “corrupt and extortion mafia” attempted to hijack the election process but failed due to strict security measures taken by the police and the Rangers.
Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2017