Media surveys draw ire of Qureshi

Published July 18, 2022
In this file photo, Shah Mahmood Qureshi speaks to the media in Multan. — DawnNewsTV/File
In this file photo, Shah Mahmood Qureshi speaks to the media in Multan. — DawnNewsTV/File

MUZAFFARGARH: The by-poll results may not be regarded as an upset as government candidates were facing hard questions from voters during electioneering in south Punjab for eight South Punjab seats.

Dawn learned that during campaigns PTI candidates exploited the hiked petroleum prices and inflation to the constituents, mostly farmers and the rural class. All contests were neck and neck but the mother of all contests, however, was PP-217 by-polls, where PTI’s Zain Qureshi was in the face of PML-N’s Salman Naeem.

During pre-election surveys by different TV reporters and anchors, Mr Naeem was leading. But PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s massive rally in Alipur on July 11 turned out to be a game changer and it changed the whole scenario. Mr Qureshi won the seat with 46,963 votes while the runner-up Naeem ended up with 40,104 votes. The constituency was the centre of attention for the media and politicians because the PTI candidate was the son of party Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi. PPP leader and Opposition Leader in the Senate Yousaf Raza Gilani and his sons took part in door-to-door electioneering for Mr Naeem. In the sportsman spirit, Mr Naeem accepted his defeat and also visited Mr Qureshi and congratulated him.

Elsewhere, according to unofficial results, PTI’s Moazzam Jatoi inflicted defeat on PML-N’s Zehra Basit Bukhari in the election for PP-272. Next door, PP-272 in Alipur and PP-282 in Layyah, also showed similar trends.

When the results started trickling in, PTI workers gathered at the office of Mr Qureshi and celebrations ensued. Addressing the crowd, Shah Mahmood Qureshi criticised the Pakistan Democratic Movement parties and the PPP for creating political instability in the country.

He also criticised the media analysts as “most of them declared the PML-N favourite”. He said the PML-N used government funds and transfer and posting of government officials to manipulate the results but such tactics failed. He also remembered slain prime minister Benazir Bhutto and paid tribute to her struggle against tyrant forces, adding that the legacy of Bhuttos had been ruined by Asif Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. He said the PPP was begging for seat adjustment with other parties. He also praised Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, saying his agenda was nationalistic and realistic. He said Mr Khan is standing alone and he is capable of defeating the PDM and other forces. He said Mr Gilani and his sons tried to defeat his son but failed. He said PML-N’s Abid Sher Ali used dirty language against him during electioneering. Abid stayed in Multan for several days and monitored elections on a daily basis.

Published in Dawn, July 18th, 2022

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