SARGODHA: In the initial results, the PML-N has bagged all the five NA and five out of PA seats in Sargodha districts in the July 25 polls. A cloud is hanging over two candidates - Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha (NA-89) and Dr Zulfiqar Ali Bhatti (NA-91) – because of their low margin of victory and the results may be changed due to the addition of postal ballots and recounting.

In NA-91, Dr Bhatti was declared winner with a 114 votes against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI’s) Amir Sultan Cheema. The result may be changed if 253 postal ballot papers, inscribed with ‘NA 91 PTI’ are considered valid and in favour of the PTI candidate. The matter has been referred to the Election Commission of Pakistan.

PML-N candidate, supporters booked for riots

Dr Bhatti, as per the initial counting by the presiding officer, got 110,599 votes and Mr Cheema 110,485 votes. During the counting of 539 postal ballots, Dr Bhatti got 77 votes while other postal ballots were rejected because of the text ‘NA-91 PTI’ on them.

Earlier, late on July 26, Mr Bhatti with his supporters staged a sit-in at district courts demanding the notification of his victory.

On Saturday, Dr Bhatti with his son and supporters vandalised the main entrance of the district returning officer office and chanted derogatory slogans against the judiciary and army.

Police resorted to baton charge and dispersed them. The Cantt police also registered a first information report under terrorism charges against 125 people, of them 25 nominated.

Police closed the district courts and only lawyers were allowed to reach their chambers. The police also raided the residence of Dr Bhatti but he was not present there. Police arrested 25 workers of the PML-N present there.

As far as the position of Mr Ranjha, he was leading the re-count with a margin of over 500 votes against his opponent PTI’s Usama Ahmad Mela. He may be in troubles if out of 5,000 invalid ballot papers, some hundreds are accepted in favour Mr Mela.

ROOF COLLAPSE: Due to heavy rain in village Kot Raja in Kotmomin, a man and his son died and two others were injured when the roof of their house caved in late on Friday.

Published in Dawn, July 29th, 2018