NA 151 be-election and litmus test of the parties – by Syed Kashif Nawaz

Cross-posted from

The bi-elections for the National Assembly’s seat NA-151 Multan, vacated after the disqualification of the Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani in a contempt of court case, held on 19 July 2012. The polls concluded the success of the ex-premier’s son, candidate of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Abdul Qadir Gilani, who got 64,628 votes. The runner-up Shaukat Hayat Bosan, an independent candidate, secured 60,532 votes, unofficial reports says. Earlier Malik Ishaq Bucha, supposed to be nominated by Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz Group (PMLN) quit the party to join Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). PMLN extended its support to Saukat Bosan, the brother of Sikandar Boson of PTI. Sikandar Bosan, the winner of the same seat in 2002 general elections on PMLQ ticket, had already withdrawn from the polls.

In the last general elections of 2008, the same seat was contested by Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani (PPP), Sikandar Hyat Khan Bosan (PMLQ) & Malik Majid Bucha (PMLN). Number of votes each candidate secured was 70498, 45764, 17139 respectively. Sources reveal Shaukat Boson enjoyed support of PMLN, PTI & their allies including Jamat-e-Islami. The result of bi-poll is almost the same as was in 2008 & one may notice there is no major upset in the voting pattern from the past, that mean the alliance of 3 major right-wing parties & their candidate could not make a big difference.

In other words, the bi-polls proved to be the litmus test of the parties contesting, wherein PPP proved its strong grip & popularity & even after the coalition all right-wing parties had to face the defeat. PMLN who claims to be the representative of the masses, especially in Punjab, could not even find a candidate to nominate in the constituency. Its expected candidate Ishaq Bucha had preferred to support PPP’s candidate over them. People believe PMLN should concentrate to make room for it in Southern Punjab instead of supporting the miscreants in Sindh.

PTI, on the other hand remained firm on its custom of escaping the polls. Its boycott & covert support to Shaukat Bosan convincing people to believe either it doesn’t have courage of antagonism or is secretly giving benefits to the status quo. To my Surprise bi-poll result go up against all surveys portraying PTI as the most popular & PPP as the most hated party in Pakistan. Jamat-e-Islami still proved to be negligible fraction of the society.

This litmus test is sufficient to predict the future political scenario which would be, pre-election or post-election coalition of all right wing parties including PTI, PMLN & Jamat-e-Islami, unchanged voting patterns, public support for status quo parties, same voter, same candidates, same problems & same miseries.

Syed Kashif Nawaz is a financial analyst and a political commentator.


Deposed PM Yousaf Raza Gillani returns to Multan (8 July 2012)