Gilani’s son wins by-poll

Abdul Qadir Gilani, son of ousted premier Yousuf Raza Gilani, narrowly won by-election to the National Assembly seat falling vacant in Multan after his father was convicted and disqualified by the Supreme Court on charge of contempt.

By Afzal Khan

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Published: Sat 21 Jul 2012, 12:20 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 11:33 AM

The contest which the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) expected to be a walkover turned out to be a neck and neck fight on Thursday. According to unofficial results released by the Election Commission on Friday, Abdul Qadir Gilan won by a margin of only 4090 votes over his immediate rival. He poled 64,64,628 defeating independent candidate Shaukat Bosan who got 60,532 votes. Gilani’s father had won the same seat in 2008 with a big margin by securing 85,000 votes.

The opposition Pakistan Musli, League-Nawaz and Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) did not field any candidate but the PPP claimed they covertly backed Bosan whose brother Sikandar Bosan is a member of the PTI.

President Asif Ali Zadari and Yousuf Raza hailed Qadir’s victory as vindication of Gilani’s stance to defy Supreme Court orders for reopening graft case against the President in Swiss court.

But analysts noted that the slim margin of victory on a seat regarded as secure by the PPP, signified the tough task the party faces in next general elections by February next year. No political leaders had campaigned for Bosan while his supporters alleged that ballot boxes were stuffed at many places by Gilani’s agents to steal the election.

Ten candidates were in the run but only Gilani contested on a party ticket. The turnout of over 130,000 votes also surprised most analysts who said it was indicative of keen general elections, particularly due to induction of hundreds of thousands of youth votes most of whom support Imran Khan.

Urban stations saw a slow turnout, but polling in rural areas was brisk throughout the day.

For the first time in country’s history, the Election Commission provided transport to voters in the light of June 8 decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Television channels broadcast footage of the former prime minister Gilani being garlanded with roses and celebrating the victory. His son said the people had spoken.

“The court dismissed my father and we came to the court of people. This court has announced its verdict in my favour and I am thankful to you,” he told supporters.

Zardari congratulated Gilani junior, saying “it is the people and the people alone who pronounce the final verdict and are not afraid of overturning all other judgments”.

The Supreme Court last week gave new Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf until July 25 to indicate whether he would write to the Swiss authorities to reopen the cases which were shelved in 2008 when Zardari became president.

It threatened Ashraf with “appropriate action under the constitution and the law” if he fails to comply, fuelling speculation that the Pakistan People’s Party may be forced to call general elections later this year.

(With inputs from AFP)

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