NA-148: Tough contest likely in Multan by-elections today

Multan by-election

Ali Qasim Gilani of the PPP and SIC’s Taimur Altaf Malik are the two major contenders for the national assembly seat vacated by PPP’s Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani.

ISLAMABAD  -   A tough contest is likely between Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) candidate Syed Ali Qasim Gilani and Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC)’s Taimur Altaf Malik today (Sunday) in the by-elections in NA-148 (Multan-I), on the seat vacated by PPP’s Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani. The seat had fallen vacant after the former prime minister and PPP senior leader assumed charge as Chairman Senate.

In February 8 general elections, Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani defeated Taimur Altaf Malik by a narrow margin of just 293 votes. Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani won the seat by securing 67,326 votes while Taimur Altaf Malik got 67,033 votes. PML-N candidate Ahmed Hussain Dehr also got 57989 votes to remain third in the contest.

However, this time, Ahmed Hussain Dehr is not competing for the seat under an agreement with the PPP. Rather, he is supporting the PPP candidate Ali Qasim Gilani. Once again, a tough competition is expected between Ali Qasim Gilani, the son of Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and Taimur Altaf Malik of the SIC. About 10 candidates belonging to various political parties are running for the NA seat.

According to the sources, Ahmed Hussain Dehr is not in the scene, rather his brother is canvassing for the PPP candidate. Still, the political observers believe, SIC’s Malik is going to put up a tough fight with PML-N’s disgruntled Sikandar Bosan having “sympathy” for the SIC candidate.

NA-148 Multan constituency comprises of parts of urban areas such as Multan Cantonment, Multan Cantonment Qanungo Halqa of Multan City Tehsil, Town Committee Qadir Pur Ran, areas of Multan Saddar Tehsil, Bosan Qanungo Halqa, Nawab Pur Qanungo Halqa, Sher Shah Qanungo Halqa and more. The constituency, previously labelled as NA-154 Multan-I in the 2018 election delimitations has been re-designated as NA-148 Multan-I.

About 444,000 voters will cast their votes in the by-elections. A comparison of the electoral rolls reveals a reduction of 171,900 votes in 2024 compared to 2018. The district administration has finalized all arrangements for the by-election scheduled to be held today.

Out of 275 polling stations, 69 are termed sensitive. CCTV cameras have been installed at the sensitive polling stations. On Saturday, Deputy Commissioner Rizwan Qadeer paid a visit to the central election office at Multan Public School and reviewed arrangements. Returning Officer NA-148 Muhammad Saif gave briefing on election material delivery and polling scheme. The DC said that the district administration will provide a transparent and peaceful election environment as per directions of the Election Commission of Pakistan.

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