Not just a by-election

October 12, 2014

A contest among candidates backed by three Makhdooms in NA-149…

Not just a by-election

Political analysts and election monitors predict a low turnout in Multan II NA-149 by-election, less than 30 per cent. The contest is among candidates backed by three Makhdooms backed by PPP, PTI and PML-N; each has put its own candidate to let the other Makhdoom down in the by-election.

The Election Commission of Pakistan statistics shows 56.11pc turnout in the 2013 general elections when 189,660 votes were cast out of 338,005 registered votes.

The PML-N is making efforts to convince the independent potential candidates of influential families to withdraw in favour of Javed Hashmi to counter the post-PTI public meeting’s effects.

"The rumours that PTI may resign from National as well as provincial assemblies have been viewed with distaste by majority. Voters would not like to vote for a candidate who contests a by-election only to submit his resignation later," says political analyst Muhammad Anwar.

Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen) representative, Sarwar Bari, expects the turnout to be somewhere between 25-30 per cent. "The voters are expecting midterm elections next year so they are not fully involved in the by-poll electioneering," he observes.

PPP Co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari has sent his close aide and Senator Dr Abdul Qayyum Soomro to Multan to personally monitor the PPP candidate’s election campaign.

The Punjab Public Affairs Committee head Chaudhry Saud Majid, PML-N MNA Mehr Ishtiaq and Rana Mubashir from the CM Secretariat, Punjab Minister Jails Abdul Waheed Arain have established camp office at Multan circuit house to monitor the election campaign.

Makhdoom Javed Hashmi is contesting as an independent candidate with the support of PML-N. Javed Hashmi had won twice from NA-149 in 2008 on PML-N ticket and in 2013 on the PTI ticket.

The rumours that PTI may resign from National as well as provincial assemblies have been viewed with distaste by majority.

Former Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani backs PPP candidate Dr Javed Siddiqui. Former Foreign Minister and PTI Vice Chairman Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi has decided to back the PPP turncoat Malik Amir Dogar.

The Dogar family has been active in politics since Zia’s Martial Law when Malik Salahuddin Dogar, Amir Dogar’s father, was elected mayor of Multan. Later, he won general elections in 1985 on non-party basis and became MPA. The family joined the PML-N in the 1990s and then PPP in 2000. Malik Amir Dogar was nominated South Punjab PPP general secretary and established People’s Secretariat at his residence on Sher Shah Road.

Makhdoom Javed Hashmi won the seat by polling 83,640 votes on the PTI ticket in the last election while the PML-N candidate Sheikh Tariq Rahid got 73,898 votes. Now he has withdrawn his nomination in favour of Javed Hashmi on the instruction of party leadership. The PPP’s Malik Amir Dogar got 20,719 votes and he is contesting by-poll as an independent candidate backed by the PTI.

A peep into the last three elections reveals PPP had won the seat in 2002 when Malik Liaquat Ali Dogar contested on the party ticket. Malik Amir Dogar is his real nephew.

The Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan has a consistent vote bank in the constituency as Liaqat Baloch bagged 3,802 votes in the last general elections 2013. The JUP-Noorani and JUI-F have their loyal vote bank; however, the JUI-F is expected to support Makhdoom Javed Hashmi and JUP-Noorani to PTI-backed Malik Amir Dogar.

Political analysts think that if Amir Dogar wins the by-polls, it would affect the prospects of PTI district president Aijaz Janjua, Dr Khalid Khakwani, Mian Saeed Qureshi and Nadeem Qureshi who are supposed to be prospective candidates from NA-149 for PTI.

In the 2002 elections, nine candidates contested while Malik Liaquat Dogar of the PPP won the slot with 31,085 votes. PML-N’s Hafiz Iqbal Khan Khakwani got 18,763 votes, MMA’s Sheikh Khizar Hayat got 19,867 votes and Dr Khalid Khakwani of the PML-Q received 16,276 votes.

In the 2008 general elections, nine candidates participated and the PML-N candidate Javed Hashmi won the seat securing 37,143 votes. He resigned from PML-N and joined the PTI. A by-poll was held in NA-149 in 2012 and PML-N candidate Sheikh Tariq Rashid won the slot getting 37,143 votes. Malik Liaqat Dogar of PPP got 24,531 votes in 2008.

Not just a by-election