ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) candidate Abdul Qadir Gilani, son of former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, won the by-election in NA-151 after the seat was vacated due to the disqualification of his father.
According to the results announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Qadir Gilani narrowly defeated independent candidate Shaukat Hayat Bosan in a close contest. Junior Gilani bagged 64,340 votes while Bosan remained runner-up with 60,761 votes, with the former winning the by-polls with a lead of 3,579 votes.
The ECP sources told that 127,777 registered voters out of 307,871 cast their votes while 126,233 were valid. The turnout in by-polls was 41.50, sources told.
Total 245 polling stations were set up across the Multan constituency, out of which 64 were declared sensitive. A local holiday was also declared in the backdrop of the by-election.
For the first time in history, the ECP had decided to provide transport to voters in the by-election for NA-151 in the light of June 8 decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Reports about rigging of elections were also received from various polling stations where people accused presiding officers of stamping the ballot papers. Ten candidates, nine of them independent, were contesting the by-election. Other candidates were Abdul Mateen Qureshi, Dr Aleem Chaudhry, Mehr Ghulam Shabbir Sial, Advocate Shehla Shaheen, Muhammad Husnain Khan Bosan, Muhammad Amil Yousuf Jutt, Muhammad Abbas and Nawaz Muhammad Iqbal Khan.
An open violation of the code of conduct, set by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was also witnessed. The ECP had directed the District Election Commission Multan to provide transport to the voters during the by-election. However, candidates violated the ECP orders and provided transport to voters. Despite a ban, candidates had also set up camps near the polling stations.
Polling was also halted after a fight broke out between two groups of women at station 231. According to reports, two political groups indulged in cross-fire at Khairpur Bhutta polling station where polling was stopped for a while. Some workers of a political party also opened fire outside Bund Bosan polling station.
Bosan was also supported by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
Meanwhile, President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Pervaiz Ashraf Raja said the electoral victory of Abdul Qadir Gilani in by-polls will reverberate in the annals of time as a stark reminder to everyone that it is the people and people alone who pronounce the final verdict and are not afraid of overturning all other judgments. This they said in their felicitation message to Abdul Qadir Gilani.