PML-N wins by-polls

Published December 17, 2021

MUZAFFARGARH: Pakistan Muslim League-N candidate Rana Saleem won the by-election for PP-206, Khanewal, while Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI’s) Noreen Nishat Daha stood far behind him.

PPP candidate Syed Mir Wasiq and Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan’s Akmal Sheikh stood third and fourth, respectively.

According to unofficial results, the PML-N bagged 47,649 votes, PTI 34,030, PPP 15,059 and the TLP man got 9,616 votes.

The seat fell vacant after PML-N Nishat Daha’s death on Oct 23. After the 2018 elections, he had informally joined the PTI. The PTI awarded ticket to his widow Noreen Nishat Daha for the by-poll, while the PML-N chose their rival Rana Saleem who was a PTI candidate in the 2018 elections.

The turnout remained 39 per cent which was more than the expectations.

Earlier, the day started with a foggy morning, and till noon, there was hardly any activity on any polling station. Voters, however, started coming to polling stations in the afternoon and there was a great rush at polling stations till evening.

The PML-N workers celebrated the results with dance on drumbeats. The PPP camp was also jubilant over their improved tally.

Local politicians and commentators said the PPP stole the vote of the PTI candidate from rural areas, while the TLP failed to get significant votes from the urban areas, which led to the comfortable win of the PML-N candidate and defeat of the PTI. They said the people rejected the PTI because of the price hike.

The polling was held without any eventful incident.

Ms Daha was caught showing her stamped ballot to the media, which invoked the Election Commission of Pakistan laws to cancel her vote as it was a violation of election laws.

PPP candidate Mir Wasiq’s guard was arrested by police at a polling station for displaying weapons. Mir Wasiq protested the arrest of his guard.

The police, however, said Section 144 was enforced in the by-election constituency and guard Waseem entered a polling station despite being stopped on which the police took timely action and arrested him and further operation is underway.

DPO Nadeem Abbas said violators of Section 144 would be dealt with iron fists.

Commissioner Dr Irshad Ahmed and Regional Police Officer Javed Akbar Riaz visited Khanewal and reviewed the polling process and administrative and security measures.

Khanewal Deputy Commissioner Agha Zaheer Abbas Shirazi and DPO Syed Nadeem Abbas were also present.

Published in Dawn, December 17th, 2021

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