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April 8, 2016
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MQM wins NA-245, PS-115 by-polls amid low turnout

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April 8, 2016

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KARACHI: Both the candidates of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Kamal Malick and Faisal Rafiq, returned as winners from NA-245 and PS-115 respectively amid a low turnout in the by-elections, which concluded peacefully on Thursday except for mild disturbances in some areas of the PS-115 constituency.

According to unofficial results, Kamal Malick secured 39,800 out of the registered 382,932 votes from the North Nazimabad and North Karachi constituency, which had been the bastion of MQM. 

The candidate belonging to the Pakistan People's Party bagged 3,000 votes, whereas the PTI managed to secure merely 300 votes. Faisal Rafiq of the MQM emerged as the winning candidate from the PS-115 by securing 11,747 votes in the Lines Area locality with 162,614 registered voters. The percentage of his votes stood at around seven percent. His opponent Jamil Qadri bagged only 1,000 votes. Though the turnout was low, the margin of votes between the Muttahida and its rivals had a huge difference.

The seats had fallen vacant after Rehan Hashmi and Arshad Vohra of MQM resigned from the constituencies. Both, Hashmi and Vohra, were given the task to contest the local bodies elections and both were elected.

The situation in NA-245 took a dramatic turn when the PTI candidate Amjadullah Khan withdrew his candidature in favour of the MQM candidate and also joined the MQM in the wee hours of Thursday. 

This was the first time in the country’s history that a candidate not only withdrew from contesting elections but also joined the rival party hours before the election. The move came as a severe blow to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

The turnout was very low in the morning due to fear, but the entire polling process remained peaceful in NA-245. The reason for the low turnout could be the little enthusiasm shown in mobilizing people by the contesting parties and also because there was no holiday. Despite fielding its candidates from the constituencies concerned, the PPP did not erect camps close to the polling stations to guide voters. The MQM was the only party whose workers were sitting in the camps guiding and assisting its voters.

Meanwhile, MQM’s Rabita Committee strongly condemned the arrest of Mohammed Azeem, the former member of the MQM Karachi Tanzeemi Committee. Azeem was arrested by the law-enforcement agencies while going back home after casting his vote in the PS-115.

 

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