LODHRAN: In a major upset for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) before the general elections, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) won the by-polls for the constituency of NA-154 Lodhran, according to unofficial results from all 338 polling stations.
PML-N’s Iqbal Shah managed to attain 113,542 votes, while his competitor, PTI’s Ali Tareen, contesting his first election on his father’s seat, attained 85,933 votes.
PML-N won by a margin of 27,609 votes according to provisional results.
The seat fell vacant in the wake of the disqualification of PTI leader Jahangir Tareen by the Supreme Court in December 2017. Considered the home ground of Tareen, PTI had won the seat with a margin of around 40,000 votes in a previous by-election in 2015.
Congratulatory messages pour in
Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif congratulated the party on its victory in the constituency and added that the people have proven that they support PML-N’s policies leadership.
The chief minister added that politics of sit-ins and disorder has been defeated and such politics have no place in the country.
Daughter of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, posted on social media that conspiracies against her father have been turned into his strength by God.
She added that if the people’s decision, when disrespected, becomes even stronger. “If their prime minister is removed, they too take notice,” said Maryam on Twitter.
Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said on that the people have shown that they support politics of development and a rising Pakistan.
Mushahid Hussain, who recently joined PML-N, said the tide has turned and.
A large number of PML-N supporters to the streets in the constituency and celebrated their candidate’s victory.
The government had deployed 4,000 security personnel, including army personnel, in the constituency in view of avoiding any unforeseen development and to ensure free and fair conduct.
PTI fielded Jahangir’s son Ali Tareen, the PML-N Iqbal Shah and PPP Mirza Mohammad Ali Baig. Seven other candidates were contesting as independents.
Earlier today, Jahangir Tareen, while speaking to the media after casting his vote, stated that there is no possibility of rigging in the by-election today with the presence of army personnel outside polling stations.
He said that the PTI will respond to the Election Commission of Pakistan’s notice of violating its code of conduct, adding that the institution did not take any notice when the PML-N legislators were running the campaign for their candidate.
Tareen said that he will accept the result of the by-poll whatever it may be, but added that the PTI candidate will surely defeat his opponents.
The polling process started at 8am and ended at 5pm.
In total, 338 polling stations were set up in the constituency, where 431,002 voters were expected to exercise their right to vote.
The Supreme Court, in its judgment in December 2017, had said that Jahanghir Tareen had pleaded guilty to insider trading and ruled that he cannot be termed honest and stands disqualified for life as per Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution.
It had also said the PTI leader used suspicious terms in his statements to the court, besides not declaring his offshore company.
ECP fines Tareen, Shah
The district monitoring officer imposed a fine of Rs40,000 and Rs30,000 on Ali Tareen and Iqbal Shah respectively for violating the by-election’s code of conduct by engaging in political campaigning after the deadline.
The Election Commission of Pakistan had also issued a notice to both candidates for their violations.