pakistan
Wednesday Jun 29 2022
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By-poll in PP-217 Multan: PTI and PML-N call in the big guns

PML-Ns Muhammad Salman Naeem (left) and PTIs Zain Qureshi. — Twitter/LinkedIn/File
PML-N's Muhammad Salman Naeem (left) and PTI's Zain Qureshi. — Twitter/LinkedIn/File

On July 17, the control of the Punjab Assembly will be on the line, as the race for 20 seats in the province heats up.

In Pakistan's most politically important province, the PML-N is hoping to maintain its narrow control. While the PTI is aiming to wrest the province away from the ruling party.

Who could tip the balance in their favour?

In the run-up to the by-polls, Geo.tv provides an in-depth look into the constituency:

A profile of the constituency

  • Total voters: 216,996
  • Male voters: 115,158
  • Female voters: 101,838

PP-217 falls under NA-156, won by PTI’s senior leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi in 2018.

2018 winner: In the 2018 general election PP-217 was won by Muhammad Salman Naeem, who contested independently after he was refused a ticket by the PTI.

To everyone’s surprise, Naeem defeated PTI’s heavy-weight candidate, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, by nearly 4,000 votes. Naeem was said to have the backing of businessman and PTI leader Jahangir Tareen, on whose insistence he officially joined PTI after the 2018 election.

Contesting candidates

For the by-election, the PML-N has fielded Naeem, who was unseated by the Election Commission for voting against his party, PTI’s direction in the chief minister Punjab election.

Against him is Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s son, Zain Qureshi, who is PTI’s candidate.

Who could win?

The election is too close to call. There are strong candidates on both sides.

Naeem has the support of the PML-N, whose top leadership, such as Abid Sher Ali, has been camped in the constituency for a while to campaign for him. He also enjoys the backing of the PPP and other PDM parties.

For Zain Qureshi, his father has been on the stump. Meanwhile PTI’s chairman, Imran Khan, is also expected to hold a large rally in the constituency on July 14.

Election activity

There has been very little election activity except for a few corner meetings. But this could pick up closer to the election.

Constituency problems

The main concern is the lack of clean drinking water and sewerage problems.