Karachi - Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) candidate Aitzaz Ahsan on Tuesday bagged 100 votes in the Sindh Assembly, followed by 56 votes by PTI candidate Arif Alvi and a single vote by joint opposition candidate Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
The polling process which began at 10:00 am in the provincial assembly hall continued till 4:00 pm and 158 members of the provincial assembly cast their votes. Chief Justice Sindh High Court was the presiding officer for the polling process. He was assisted by the judicial officers. The ECP members, led by provincial election commissioner Yousuf Khattak, provided the officials conducting the polls required material including ballot boxes, ballot papers apart from supervising the process.
“Out of total strength of 168 members, 158 cast their votes in Sindh Assembly,” said Sindh Election Commissioner Yousuf Khattak, who was supervising the entire process, in a media talk outside assembly.
He said three seats of the assembly were vacant including seats vacated by Governor Sindh Imran Ismail, PPP MNA Fazal Shah Jilani while polling was not held on PS-87 Malir after death of a TLP candidate. “Two members of the assembly had not taken oath [PTI’s Seema Zia and MQM-P’s Shahana Ashar], lowering the total strength of the house to 163,” he said.
Yousuf Khattak added that out of the total strength, five lawmakers including two from PPPP- Murad Ali Shah who won from PS-34 and Mir Nadir Magsi- and three lawmakers of Tehreek-i-Labbaik-Pakistan that are Sarwat Fatima, Muhammad Qasim and Younus Somroo remained absent during the proceedings. The PPP leaders later said that both the lawmakers were abroad, therefore could not attend the presidential election.
Giving details of results, Khattak said that out of the 158 polled votes, 100 votes were polled in favour of PPPP candidate Aitzaz Ahsan, PTI’s Arif Alvi garnered 56 votes and one vote was polled to MMA candidate Maulana Fazlur Rehman. “One vote was rejected as the voter did not use correct sign of cross to mark his candidate,” said ECP Sindh commissioner.
Meanwhile, the PPP, which had support of 95 lawmakers after two of its members remained absent, bagged 100 votes for its presidential candidate, showing that the party secured five more votes from the members of PTI-led alliance. The PTI alliance comprises 62 lawmakers including 28 members from PTI, 20 from MQM-P and 14 from GDA but its candidate bagged 56 votes, six votes less than the strength. Five of PTI alliance votes were cast in favour of PPP candidate while one was rejected. The MMA has a lone lawmaker in the provincial assembly and the party secured that one vote in presidential polls.
Speaking on it, Minister for Local Bodies Saeed Ghani refuted horse-trading in the polls and asked as to why they would give favour to anyone when their candidate had no chance to win the polls. “The excess votes polled in favour of PPPP were due to the personality of Aitzaz Ahsan, who has a reputation of being part of democratic struggle in the country,” he said.
Spelling out reasons for the extra votes, Ghani said that it might be possible that some lawmakers considered Aitzaz as most suitable candidate among the three while the others might be annoyed with their party.
He said if Aitzaz would have been the joint opposition candidate then he could bag more votes than expected but Maulana Fazlur Rehman could not bag votes more than the opposition strength.
As per the election commission formula for conversion of provincial assembly votes into 65 electoral votes for presidential election, the PPP got 39 votes from the assembly while PTI bagged 22 votes out of the total cast 61 votes. 10 lawmakers did not cast vote bringing the total vote tally from 65 to 61 votes. The MMA candidate could not bag any vote from the Sindh Assembly.
The Sindh election commissioner, however, said that they had to convey the votes polled in the provincial assembly to chief election commissioner in Islamabad, where they would be applying the formula to determine the presidential votes polled for each candidate. “We will convey results by Tuesday night and an official announcement will be made by chief election commissioner,” he said.