ISLAMABAD: In at least 24 National Assembly constituencies, the number of rejected ballots was found to be greater than the margin of victory, an analysis of provisional results reveals.

Twenty-two of these constituencies fall in Punjab, with one each in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh.

PML-N won the electoral race in 13 of these constituencies, five were claimed by PPP, four by the PTI-backed independents and two by other independents.

In NA-11 (Shangla), PML-N provincial president Engineer Ameer Muqam secured 59,863 votes to defeat the PTI-backed candidate with a margin of 5,552 votes. The number of rejected ballots in the contest was 5,743.

In NA-50 (Attock), Malik Sohail Khan of PML-N got 119,075 votes, defeating Chaudhry Parvez Elahi’s niece Emaan Waseem with a margin of 9,886 votes. The number of rejected votes in this constituency was 9,938.

Around 2m ballot papers excluded from the count in all 265 NA seats contested

In NA-59 (Talagang-cum-Chakwal), Sardar Ghulam Abbas of PML-N secured 141,680 votes against his closest rival PTI-backed Muhammad Ruman Ahmad, who got 129,716 votes. The margin of victory was 11,964 while the number of ballot papers rejected was 24,547, which is the highest number of rejected votes in a single NA constituency.

In NA-61 (Jhelum), Chaudhry Farrukh Altaf of PML-N beat Shaukat Iqbal Mirza (PTI). They secured 88,038 and 84,584 votes, respectively. The difference was 3,454 against 9,659 votes rejected.

In NA-65 (Gujrat), Chaudhry Naseer Ahmad Abbas of PML-N secured 90,982 votes to defeat Wajahat Hasnain Shah of PTI, who got 82,411 votes. The margin of victory and rejected ballots were 8,571 and 9,092, respectively.

In NA-69 (Mandi Bahauddin), Nasir Iqbal Bosal of PML-N secured 113,285 votes to defeat Kausar Parveen of PTI, who could manage to obtain 108,768 votes, reflecting a margin of 4,517. However, the number of rejected ballots in the constituency was 11,609.

In NA-79 (Gujranwala), Ahsan Ullah Virk of PTI obtained 104,023 votes to defeat Zulfiqar Ahmed of PML-N, who secured 99,635 votes. The margin was 4,388 against 9,300 ballots rejected.

In NA-80 (Gujranwala), Shahid Usman of PML-N defeated Lala Asadullah of PTI. They secured 98,160 and 95,007 votes, respectively. The difference was 3,153 while the rejected votes numbered 5,267.

In NA-86 (Sargodha), Muhammad Miqdad Ali Khan of PTI obtained 105,868 votes defeating Syed Javaid Hussain of PML-N, who got 94,479 votes. The margin of victory comes to 11,389 against 13,237 ballots rejected.

In NA-92 (Bhakkar), Rasheed Akbar, an independent candidate, defeated Muhammad Afzal Khan, another independent. They secured 142,761 and 131,176 votes, respectively. The difference is 11,585, close to the number of rejected votes that came to 11,750.

In NA-94 (Chiniot), Qaisar Ajmad Sheikh of PML-N got 79,546 votes against his closest rival Muhammad Khalid of PTI, who bagged 72,274 votes. The difference is 7,272 while the rejected votes are 7,802.

In NA-97 (Faisalabad), Muhammad Saadullah (PTI) defeated Ali Gohar Khan of PML-N. They secured 72,614 and 70,311 votes, respectively. The difference came to 2,303 against 9,474 ballots rejected.

In NA-106 (Toba Tek Singh), Muhammad Junaid Anwaar Chaudhary of PML-N got 137,629 votes to beat Khalid Nawaz (PTI), who secured 136,924, reflecting a difference of just 705 votes. The number of rejected votes numbered 7,524 votes — 10 times higher than the margin of victory.

In NA-118 (Lahore), former Punjab chief minister Hamza Shehbaz defeated Aliya Hamza of PTI. They got 105,960 and 100,803 votes, respectively. Against the victory margin of 5,157, the number of rejected votes was 5,324.

In NA-148 (Multan), former prime minister and PPP leader Yousaf Raza Gilani defeated Taimoor Altaf Malik of PTI with a difference of just 293 votes. The number of rejected votes is 12,665.

In another constituency of the city of saints, NA-151, Mr Gilani’s son Ali Musa Gilani beat PTI-backed Mehar Bano Qureshi with a margin of 7,431 votes. The number of rejected votes in the constituency was, however, as high as 16,555.

In NA-154 (Lodhran), Rana Muhammad Faraz Noon secured 134,937 votes defeating former minister of state Abdul Rahman Kanju (PML-N), who got 128,438 votes, reflecting a margin of 6,499 votes. The number of rejected votes here was 7,803.

In NA-164 (Bahawalpur), Riaz Hussain Pirzada of PML-N got 123,360 votes to defeat Ejaz Ahmad Gudan of PTI with a margin of 6,220 votes. As many as 6,636 ballots were excluded from the count in this constituency.

In NA-169 (Rahim Yar Khan), Syed Murtaza of PPP defeated Syed Mobeen Ahmad of PML-N with a margin of 7,109 votes against 9,843 votes rejected.

In NA-173 (Rahim Yar Khan), Syed Mustafa Mehmood of PPP beat Muhammad Nabeel Dhar of PTI with a margin of 2,816 votes. In this constituency, 7,945 votes were rejected.

The other constituencies where number of rejected votes is higher than the margin of victory include NA-184 and NA-186 (D.G. Khan), NA-189 (Rajanpur) and NA-231 (Malir).

Around two million ballot papers have been excluded from the count from the 265 National Assembly constituencies.

As many as four constituencies have more than 15,000 excluded ballots each. Another 21 constituencies have excluded 10,000 to 15,000 ballots. A large number of constituencies (137) reported excluded votes in the range of 5,000 to 10,000.

A total of 67 constituencies have reported fewer than 5,000 but greater than 1,000 excluded ballots. Only six constituencies have reported fewer than 1,000 excluded ballots each.

The highest number of ballots excluded from the voter count have been reported from NA-59 Talagang-cum-Chakwal (24,547 ballots), followed by NA-213 Umerkot (17,571 ballots). The lowest number of ballots excluded are reported from NA-236 Karachi East-II (51 ballots).

Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2024

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