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LAHORE: The Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed independent candidates secured three National Assembly seats out of the total 14 National Assembly sseats, of which two were upsets.

The PML-N received a shock in NA 122 after PTI-backed independent candidate Latif Khosa defeated PML-N senior leader Khawaja Saad Rafique significantly. Per the official results, Khosa won the elections with 117,109 votes, while Rafique received 77,709 votes. Khawaja accepted defeat and congratulated the PTI-backed independent candidate on winning Lahore’s NA-122 constituency.

In another upset, PML-N candidate Sheikh Rohail Asghar in NA-121, the favourite to win the constituency, faced defeat by PTI-backed independent candidate Wasim Qadir. As per the official results, Qadir secured 78,703, and Asghar bagged 70,597.

In NA 129, the PTI managed to hang on to the constituency after its backed candidate, Mian Azhar, former Punjab Governor and the father of former federal minister Hammad Azhar, defeated PML-N candidate Hafiz Nauman after bagging 103,718 votes. In 2018, PTI’s Hammad Azhar won from the same constituency with 105,734 votes, and PML-N’s Mehr Ishtiaq Ahmed came second.

However, a PTI-backed independent candidate, Salman Akram Raja, faced a shocking defeat by Istakam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP) candidate Awn Chaudhry in NA-128, who bagged 172,576 votes. In contrast, Salman Akram Raja managed to secure 159,024 votes. Political pundits had predicted Raja’s victory, and in the early stage of the results, he was leading the contest and was sure to win the elections.

Refusing to accept the results, Raja alleged an anomaly in the result of NA-128, saying that he was ahead in the number of votes and winning the elections with a huge margin. “Then suddenly the result was withheld, and later my opponent was declared winner in the Form 47,” he added.

He claimed that he has Form 45, which proves that he was winning the elections with a good margin, adding that there was an anomaly in Forms 45 and 47. He also claimed he was forced out of the room where the vote count occurred. He challenged the election result and moved the Lahore High Court against the alleged anomaly.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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