MUZAFFARGARH: The ballot papers recount dramatically changed the result of PP-270 on Saturday where independent candidate Abdul Hayi Dasti was declared the winner with 17 votes.

Earlier in the official results, Awami Raj Party candidate Ajmal Chandia was declared successful. Then the victory margin was 39 votes, which prompted Hayi Dasti to approach the returning officer for a recount and his move paid him well. With the declaration of the recount results, Mr Dasti started receiving congratulations from his supporters.

The new result is bad news for the Jamshed Dasti-led Awami Raj Party that had fielded candidates for six NA and 11 PA seats of the district. Jamshed Dasti also lost elections on six seats, he was contesting for. The only face-saving for the party was the victory of Mr Chandia from PP-270, which proved to be short-lived.

Earlier, Mr Chandia was being contacted by both the PML-N and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leaderships for his support in the formation of the government in Lahore. The new result directed PML-N and PTI leaders to the house of Hayi Dasti.

Hayi Dasti joined the PTI three years back when Imran Khan visited Muzaffargarh where he along with Nawabzada Mansoor Ahmad Khan joined the party. When tickets were being awarded to candidates, Hayi Dasti refused to submit oath to the PTI that in case he was not given the ticket, he would not contest the poll. He told the PTI he would contest the poll at any cost because he had worked in his constituency for five years.

The PTI candidate was Mehnaz Saeed, who got 14,000 votes. In the final count, Hayi Dasti got 17,717 votes while Mr Chandia got 17,700 votes. Mr Chandia said that he would move court against the decision. Hayi Dasti said that PTI leaders had contacted him and he was going to Lahore to meet them. On the other hand, independent PP-277 MPA-elect Alamdar Abbas Qureshi reportedly joined the PTI.

Published in Dawn, July 29th, 2018