TOBA TEK SINGH: Scores of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) activists ended their protest and held a celebratory rally in Pirmahal after MPA-elect Sonia Ali Raza was declared winner in a recount that added 24 more votes to her tally, giving her a lead of 64 votes.

Earlier, the PTI activists had blocked roads in protest after Sonia claimed the returning officer (RO) in her constituency was a devotee of a shrine looked after by her opponent, PML-N’s Pir Qutab Ali Baba, whom she alleged was attempting to change the results in his favour.

Sonia and MNA-elect from NA-113, Riaz Fatyana, while talking to reporters at Pirmahal on Saturday, had said that if RO Shah Sawar Amin Wahga declared Pir Qutab as the winner, PTI workers will be forced to continue their sit-in and protest on all Pirmahal roads.

Sonia won the provincial assembly seat with a lead of 40 votes. When results were being consolidated in the RO’s office on Friday, both Sonia and Pir Qutab Baba were present and he submitted an application to recount the rejected votes.

Earlier, a scuffle had broken out at Sindhillianwali -- where Pir Qutab resides -- between PTI and PML-N activists late on Friday that resulted in minor injuries to both sides.

Pir Qutab told reporters on Saturday that he had directed his workers to remain calm and peaceful and avoid conflict with PTI workers.

The administration had sealed roads that led to the RO’s office with the help of police and army.

Published in Dawn, July 29th, 2018