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ISLAMABAD: The already escalated hostility between two major opposition parties PML-N and PPP ignited further Friday after ECP issued official results of NA-249 Karachi West II on Form 47 suggesting PPP’s Abdul Qadir Mandokhel’s victory, in the crucially contested by-poll, with a thin margin of just 683 votes.

According to the results issued by ECP on Form 47, Mandokhel from Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) bagged 16,156 votes followed by Miftah Ismail from Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) with 15,473 votes and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan’s (TLP’s) Nazeer Ahmed with 11,125 votes. Mustafa Kamal of Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) secured 9,227 votes followed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI’s) Amjad Afridi who ended up with 8,922 votes placing him on the fifth spot in terms of the votes received. Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s (MQM-P’s) Hafiz Mursaleen got 7,511 votes.

A total of 29 candidates including 18 independents contested the by-poll.

According to ECP, out of 339,591 votes in NA-249 including 201,656 male and 137,935 female voters, the total number of votes cast was 73,471 including 50,259 male and 23,212 female voters, which is 21.64 per cent of the total registered voters in NA-249. As many as 731 votes were rejected.

There are 276 polling stations in NA-29 Karachi.

The defeat in NA-249 by-poll did not go down well with PML-N that was claiming victory overnight and its workers were in celebration mode over Miftah’s presumed ‘victory’ in the by-poll held earlier on Thursday.

The PML-N claimed that elections were ‘suddenly’ rigged to favour the PPP candidate.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif tweeted from London that PML-N was winning the by-poll at 190 polling stations “Suddenly, poll results were stopped for several hours like those of Daska—and PML-N was made to lose the election with a margin of only 683 votes that are lesser than the number of rejected votes.”

He congratulated Miftah for the ‘real victory’ and thanked the people of Karachi for their love.

The PML-N also announced to move court against by-poll result.

On the other hand, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari termed PML-N’s reaction to by-poll result as ‘childish.’

“PML-N leaders like Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Muhammad Zubair and Miftah Ismail witnessed the polling. There is no justification to cry foul now,” he said in a presser, adding that the people of Karachi demonstrated their trust on PPP.

“PPP always won from this seat that was snatched from us—it stands proved today that if free and fair polls are held PPP would win,” he said.

“We exposed PTI in the by-poll—we are ready to take on the remains of establishment, the ‘first and second selected’,” he said.

The said NA seat was vacated by PTI’s former federal water resources minister Faisal Vawda, in an apparent bid to avoid disqualification in dual-nationality cases pending in Islamabad High Court (IHC) and ECP. Vawda is accused of submitting a fake affidavit in ECP affirming that he relinquished his American nationality at the time of submitting his nomination papers for general elections in 2018.

Vawda was elected as a senator in March 3 elections, the same day when he vacated his NA seat.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021