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Kulsoom Nawaz unofficially won NA-120 election

18 September, 2017

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LAHORE: Former first lady Begum Kulsoom Nawaz carried the day in NA-120 on Sunday by defeating Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) Dr Yasmin Rashid with a clear margin of 14,188 votes.

According to unofficial results, Kulsoom Nawaz received 61,254 votes against Dr Yasmin's 47,066. The turnout remained 35 percent - far lower than the 2013 general election. Only around 115,000 total votes were cast this time.

PML-N workers celebrated the victory with fireworks and heavy celebratory firing, violating the code of conduct announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Talking to reporters, Dr Yasmin said that her fight against the PML-N had not ended. "We will go to the ECP to pursue the complaints already filed over the violation of code of conduct. We will not allow the ECP to issue the notification of the PML-N's victory until our objections and complaints are decided," she said.

A total of 44 candidates were contesting the by-election.

Kalsoom Nawaz, Dr Yasmin Rashid, Pakistan People's Party's Faisal Mir, Milli Muslim League's (MML) independent candidate Shaikh Yaqoob, PPP-W's Sajida Mir, Tehreek Labbak Ya Rasool Allah Pakistan (TYRA) Azhar Rizvi, and JIP's Ziauddin Insari were the leading contenders.

Shaikh Yaqoob received 4,349 votes, while PPP's Faisal Mir could only obtain 2,692 votes.

In the last general elections, PPP had received 2,780 votes in the constituency. Kulsoom Nawaz received 52 percent of the total votes -- eight percent less than the last general election. Dr Yasmin got 40 percent of the total votes - a six percent increase as compared to the 2013 general elections.

Due to tight security outside polling stations and effective management inside, the polling process continued smoothly throughout the day.

All 220 polling stations had earlier being declared sensitive. The Pakistan Army and Rangers personnel had been deputed there along with police. No major scuffle or other untoward incident was reported from any polling station.

The turnout remained low before noon. However, it then gradually improved as Lahoris turned out in large numbers to vote for their favourite candidates. The polling process started at 8am at most stations. Delays were reported from several polling stations.

Several complaints were lodged with the ECP by political parties when their polling agents were not allowed to enter polling stations. Mobile phones were also not allowed inside the polling stations.

Punjab Minister Bilal Yasin and PPP candidate Faisal Mir complained that polling staff at Mohni Road and Sanat Nagar had not cooperated with them and had stopped their polling agents.

Bilal Yasin and Majid Zahoor, who are members of Punjab Assembly from the PP-139 and PP-140 that fall in NA-120, cast their votes and also toured polling stations on Mohni Road.

Bilal confronted police officers over allegedly stopping voters from cast their votes. He also claimed that his party's agents were not being allowed inside polling stations set up in union councils 48, 49 and 56. Raja Khurram Advocate submitted a complaint to ECP in this regard.

PPP candidate Faisal Mir toured the constituency while riding a motorbike. He accused the PML-N of rigging the elections and claimed that his party's polling agents had been dragged out of the polling station established at Govt Girls' School Dev Samaj Road. "Our party raised its voice against pre-poll rigging, but no one listened to us," he said.

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