DADU: Pakistan Peoples Party’s Syed Mohammad Salih Shah had an easy sail in by-election for PS-86 (Johi) on Thursday as he won the provincial assembly seat by securing 42,254 votes to defeat Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf candidate Sardar Imdad Ali Leghari who trailed far behind at 25,555, according to unofficial results.
PPP workers poured onto the streets in the small town and surrounding villages and danced to tunes of party anthems after hearing about victory of their leader although voters’ interest in the by-poll appeared lacklustre.
In Johi town, the voter turnout remained 20 per cent at different polling stations and in rural areas the turnout was in the range of 15pc.
It was learnt during a visit to polling stations set up in Government Boys Degree College in the town that 1,000 out of 4,000 registered voters had cast vote.
Tariq Ahmed Rind, a voter waiting for his turn outside the polling station, said the main reason behind low turnout was that names of all the potential anti-PPP voters had been transferred from this polling station to other polling stations located at a distance of 10 to 12 kilometres from the town.
He said that voters had submitted complaints to chief election commissioner about the transfer of their names but the office did not take any notice. There were other reasons as well due to which people took little interest in coming to polling stations and casting votes, he said.
Another voter Sirai Ghulam Ali said that at least 500 votes of Rind community living in Johi town were registered in polling stations in Karo Koat, Dilawar Panhwar and other areas and it was not possible for them to travel to the remote polling stations to cast vote.
The turnout ratio therefore was not much different at the polling stations in Girls High School and Girls Degree College in the town. The turnout was found to be 15pc at male and female polling stations in Shadanko Poto and Haitam Jatoi.
District Returning Officer Abdul Zubair Khan said the process of voting remained peaceful at all polling stations and he did not receive any complaint from any polling station about rigging, mismanagement or law and order. Voter turnout was mainly between 15 to 20pc, he added.
Returning Officer Sajid Khattak said the voting time was not increased. The polling process started at 8am and ended at 5pm according to the schedule, he said.
PPP’s Syed Mohammad Salih Shah and PTI’s Sardar Imdad Leghari exercised their right to vote at a polling station in Pat Gul Mohammad.
All officers concerned as well as contestants Salih Shah, Imdad Leghari and independent candidate Shuja Ahmed Panhwar visited polling stations and inspected the voting process.
Personnel of police, Rangers and Pak Army kept patrolling the streets throughout polling day to maintain security. Rangers and Pak Army jawans performed duty at the 10 most sensitive and 60 sensitive polling stations.
Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2019