PML-N lost NA-249 by-polls due to overconfidence: Ghani

Observer Report

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has fired shots at the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) after the latter accused the former of winning the NA-249 by-election through unfair means.

“The PML-N lost the NA-249 by-election owing to its own mismanagement and overconfidence,” said the minister Saeed Ghani while addressing a news conference on Sunday.

The minister’s press conference came a few days after the NA-249 by-election was held in Karachi, where PPP’s Qadir Mandokhail emerged victorious, triggering allegations the party had resorted to unfair means from rival parties.

The PML-N had also lashed out at the PPP, accusing it of rigging the by-poll.

Ghani said there were videos doing the rounds on the internet in which a PPP polling agent can be seen being stopped by a Rangers official, who finds out the agent is carrying some money.

The minister said PML-N leaders were promoting the video and were claiming it was proof that the PPP had bought the NA-249 victory through its polling agents.

“Anyone who has ever contested an election knows that whenever a polling agent contests a vote, there is a fee for that [which must be paid],” he said. “I don’t know the amount of the fee, but it must be a few hundred rupees.

That is what our polling agents had,” he said, rejecting claims the PPP’s polling agents had handed out bribes.

On allegations that he somehow got a hold of the election results before they came out, Ghani said he had tweeted the numbers that were available to him from the form 45 issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

He said the PML-N had no right to raise a hue and cry about the election results, adding that it was strange that no one bothered to raise their voices when the PPP candidate was trailing behind Miftah Ismail.

“This is very strange. Not a word of protest was said when the PML-N candidate was in the lead and when the voting process was underway,” he said.

“It was after the election concluded and the results were announced that everyone started complaining.”

Ghani said the PPP also wanted answers as to why the PML-N had started celebrating a victory in NA-249, in advance of the announcement of the results.

The minister advised the PML-N against taunting the PPP of “making a deal” to win the polls, adding that it was the PML-N itself that had benefitted from such deals in the past.

He recounted how former prime ministers Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto had lost their lives in Pakistan and former president Asif Ali Zardari had been jailed for several years without ever being convicted.

The minister challenged the PML-N to “pull up a chart” and see which of the two parties, the PML-N and the PPP, had benefitted the most after the ’80s.

“If the elections can’t be won without striking a deal with the establishment, then the PML-N should tell us how it managed to win three elections?” he asked.

After the PPP candidate emerged victorious in the NA-249 by-poll, PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz said the election had been “stolen” from the PML-N.

In a statement on Twitter, Maryam had said the election was stolen from PML-N by only a few hundred votes.

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