By-poll in NA-157: An election down to the wire

In July, Zain Qureshi, son of former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and a member of the national assembly, contested a provincial constituency in Multan, Punjab.

After his thumping victory, he took oath of the Punjab assembly, thereby vacating his seat in the national assembly.

That left NA-157 up for grabs. Now, a by-election will be held, on September 11, in Qureshi’s former constituency in Multan.

Profile of the constituency

Population: 774,683

Total voters: 462,205

Male voters: 247,920

Female voters: 214,285

2018: In the 2018 general election Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s candidate Zain Qureshi won NA-157 with 77,373 votes, while Pakistan Peoples Party’s Ali Musa Gillani, who is also the son of former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, came in second with 70,778 votes.

Contesting candidates

On September 11, the contest would be between first-time contestant, PTI’s Mehr Bano Qureshi, who is Zain Qureshi’s sister, and Musa Gillani from the PPP.

A third candidate in the race is Tahir Ahmed from the right-wing Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan.

Who could win?

As of now, both the PTI and the PPP candidates are engaged in a vigorous electoral campaign.

For Mehr Bano Qureshi, her father, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and brother, Zain Qureshi, are conducting corner meetings and are asking for votes moving door-to-door. Mehr Bano has confined herself to mostly addressing women-only conventions.

On the other side, Gillani has the support of his brothers and his father, Yusuf Raza Gillani. Abdul Ghaffar Dogar of the Pakistan Muslim League-N is also going on the stump for Gillani’s son.

It is important to mention here that 71,480 new voters have been added to the constituency since 2018.

Election activity

Imran Khan is expected to address the constituency on September 7.

There is no planned political rally for PML-N’s vice president Maryam Nawaz Sharif, or any other senior leader of the PPP and PML-N as yet in NA-157.

Constituency problems

Lack of clean drinking water and not enough schools and colleges. Hospitals lack basic facilities and medical professionals.

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