KARACHI: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Sunday retained its seat in the NA-245 by-election, with its candidate Mahmood Moulvi securing 29,475 votes against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) candidate Moid Anwar, who bagged 16,282 votes, according to unverified results.
The total number of voters in the constituency was 515,003, including 240,016 women and 274,987 men. However, only 60,760 voters, including 19,564 women and 41,196 men, cast their vote.
The number of valid votes was 60,336. The presiding officers rejected 424 votes. The turnout ratio remained 11.8 percent. The National Assembly constituency comprised areas of Tariq Road, Lines Area, Lasbela, Jamshed Quarters, PECHS, PIB Colony and others in District East of Karachi. The seat became vacant after the death of PTI MNA Dr Aamir Liaquat Hussain.
As the results started pouring in, the PTI’s victory became more and more obvious. Political pundits expected that the MQM-P would give a tough time to the PTI because it was supported by the ruling alliance in the Centre.
Contrary to the expectations, the MQM-P appeared to be competing with the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) for the runner-up, as at some stage of results tabulation, the two parties were seesawing between the second and third position.
According to the final results, TLP candidate Muhammad Ahmed Raza bagged 9,836 votes and came third. Disgruntled leader of the MQM Dr Farooq Sattar, who contested the by-poll as an independent candidate, came fourth, securing 3,479 votes.
Political analysts believe that the TLP and Sattar divided the MQM vote bank, benefiting the PTI. The Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP), led by former Karachi mayor Mustafa Kamal, again could not prove itself a major political stakeholder in Karachi. It rather appeared to be competing with the Muhajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi for the fifth rank. In the final results, MQM Haqiqi candidate Muhammad Shahid polled 1,177 votes only.
However, unofficial results show that the PTI candidate secured 48.9 percent votes, MQM-P 21.9 percent, TLP 16.3 percent, Farooq Sattar 5.8 percent and the rest of the votes bagged by the remaining lot.
The polling process started at 8:00am and continued till 5:00pm. The voting time was extended for one more hour for the polling stations 143 and 144. In a statement, the provincial election commission said the polling was held peacefully. District Returning Officer (DROs), Returning Officer (ROs) and District Monitoring Officers (DMOs) were actively visiting the polling stations.
Army personnel and Rangers were also present in the constituency. No provincial or federal ministers except voters were allowed to enter the constituency. All the candidates were treated equally.
“The allegation by the head of a political party that MQM workers have been appointed presiding officers is completely false and baseless. As per law, the commission appointed government officers as presiding officers. According to ECP statistics, as many as 515,003, including 274,987 male and 240,016 female, were registered voters in the constituency,” said the statement.
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