Thursday May 06, 2021
KHUSHAB: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Moazzam Sher Kallu has won the PP-84 Khushab by-election with a significant margin as he retained the seat that was vacated after the death of party lawmaker Malik Muhammad Waris Kallo in March.
According to an unofficial and unconfirmed count that concluded early Thursday morning, Moazzam Sher Kallu came out on top with 73,081 votes, while Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Ali Hussain Baloch came second place, with 62,903 votes. Kallu’s margin of victory is 10,178 votes.
The by-poll was held across 229 polling stations, featuring 666 polling booths — 344 for male and 322 for female voters. The total registered voters amount to 292,687 of which 155,104 are male and 137,583 female. The turnout was reported to be satisfactory.
On Wednesday, voting concluded peacefully with little incident, though there were reports of PML-N and PTI workers engaging in a verbal duel at the Jamali Balochan Girls High School polling station.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) swiftly dispatched the Deputy Superintendent of Police to handle the situation and said in a statement that “no untoward situation of law and order has been reported at the polling station”. It added that voting was to continue uninterrupted at the polling station.
The victor took to Twitter to thanked the people, right after results were announced.
"Thank you, people of Khushab from the bottom of my heart," he wrote.
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif congratulated the public and victorious candidate Moazzam Sher Kallu. “The people of Khushab have rejected the wheat and sugar thieves,” Sharif was quoted as saying by the PML-N’s official Twitter handle.
He said the victory was the public’s acknowledgement of the services rendered during the PML-N’s tenure. “By the grace of Allah Almighty, Nowshera, Daska, Wazirabad and now [the people of] Khushab have placed their seal of trust in the PML-N,” Sharif added.
He thanked God for the election victory, the workers, party supporters and the people. “This vote is a vote for the development of Pakistan and Punjab under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif,” the opposition leader said.
He also said given the opportunity, “we will serve Punjab and Pakistan with more passion” than ever before.
The people of the constituency trusted the late Malik Waris Kallo and his “talented son Malik Moazzam Kallu”, he said. “Congratulations to all the party leaders and workers for running a successful election campaign and working day and night.”
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz celebrated the victory on Twitter, and congratulated her uncle Shehbaz, the people of Khushab, and the “lions” of the party. She also characterised Kallu’s victory as a victory of party supremo Nawaz Sharif’s narrative.
She said “people in every city have declared Nawaz Sharif’s victory” and taunted those who wanted to “minus Nawaz Sharif”. “Look at the works of Allah! Only Nawaz Sharif is left [standing], while everyone else has been cut out,” she said.
In a subsequent tweet, Maryam said: “Congratulations to the lions. Congratulations to Malik Moazzam Kallu. Thank you very much to the passionate people of Khushab.”
Addressing the people, she said jostling in line for a kilogram of sugar “cannot be your destiny”. “The PML-N will bring back good days to the nation, God willing!”
Election Commissioner Punjab Ghulam Israr Khan had urged the voters to come and exercise their right without any fear. “Fool-proof security arrangements have been made and voters should abide by the COVID-19 SOPs.”
Sargodha Division Commissioner Dr Farah Masood and Sargodha Regional Police Officer (RPO) Ashfaq Khan visited Khushab district on Monday and reviewed security arrangements for the by-election. Both the officers visited the Returning Officer’s Sub Office in Roda. DC Khushab Musarat Jabeen and DPO Khushab Muhammad Naveed were also present.
The RPO directed the DPO and DC to ensure security and smooth conduct of elections throughout the constituency and safe delivery of ballot boxes and other election materials at the polling booths. He also stressed on the observance of all standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the Election Commission.
A total of eight candidates stood in the race.
Besides the PML-N and PTI candidates, PPP's Ghulam Habib Ahmed was in the running, as well the banned TLP's Asghar Ali.
The independents included Amjad Raza, Aurangzeb, Imran Haider Khan, and Ilyas Khan Azad.