By Our Web Desk
KHUSHAB– In a fresh setback to the ruling coalition of PTI and PML-Q in Punjab, 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 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.
Shehbaz says ‘People of Khushab have rejected the wheat and sugar thieves’
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.”
‘Only Nawaz Sharif left standing’: Maryam
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.
شیروں کو دلی مبارکباد۔ ملک معظم کلّو کو فتح بہت بہت مبارک۔ خوشاب کے غیور عوام کا بہت بہت شکریہ۔ ۱ کلو چینی کے لئے دربدر کی ٹھوکریں آپ کا مقدر نہیں ہو سکتیں۔مسلم لیگ ن انشاءاللّہ قوم کو اچھے دن لوٹائے گی! pic.twitter.com/dpJ3YRFHEo
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) May 5, 2021
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!”
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.