LAHORE – Giving a margin of 14,664 votes to rival PTI’s Dr Yasmin Rashid, Kulsoom Nawaz of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz claimed victory in the high-octane by-election in Lahore’s NA-120 constituency on Sunday.
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As per ECP rules, the unofficial results started rolling out after 6pm. Kalsoom, currently in London for cancer treatment, maintained a lead throughout the vote count.
There were minor incidents of clashes between Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) workers, however, the overall process satisfied both the key contenders as endorsed by Railways Minister Saad Rafique and PTI’s Secretary General Jahangir Tareen in their respective conversations with television channels.
A total 220 polling stations were set up in the constituency having 321,786 voters out of which 56% belonged to male constituents who exercised their political right.
The Election Commission of Pakistan had for the first time introduced bio-metric voting on trial basis at 39 polling stations.
As many as 44 candidates are in the run although key contestants are Begum Kulsoom Nawaz representing Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz, Dr. Yasmin Rashid of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Faisal Mir of Pakistan Peoples Party.
Kulsoom Nawaz is the wife of former premier Nawaz Sharif while Faisal Mir is the younger brother of top anchorperson Hamid Mir.
A cut-throat battle is expected between Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s Kulsoom Nawaz and PTI candidate Yasmin Rashid with the latter losing the seat to the husband of former in 2013 General Elections.
As the former first lady is currently undergoing medical treatment in London, her daughter Maryam spearheaded the campaign in the constituency.
Other notable candidates include Ziaud Din Ansari of Jamaat-e-Islami and Independent candidate Muhammad Yaqub Sheikh, who is being supported by Milli Muslim League, a political party still unregistered in the Election Commission of Pakistan.
The NA-120 seat fell vacant after the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif as the prime minister by the Supreme Court on July 28 in the Panama Papers case.
In the 2013 General Elections, Nawaz had won the seat by securing 91,683 votes, defeating Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Yasmin Rashid who bagged 52,354 votes.
Surprisingly, no candidate of three leading parties has their vote registered in the constituency NA-120 for which they are contesting.