Islamabad, May 21, 2024: The low turnout by-election in NA-148 Multan-I on May 20, 2024, remained peaceful and well organized amidst isolated instances of procedural irregularities mainly concerning polling day canvassing and results forms provision to the polling agents and observers.

If compared with general election, the voter turnout dropped by 38 percentage points during by-election despite a two percent increase in the registered voters. There was a sharper decline in women’s turnout (39 percentage points) compared to men (36 percentage points). The number of invalid votes also registered a dramatic decline of 91 percent while the margin of victory surged from 141 votes to 33,509 votes, likely due to the contesting shifting from a three-way (PPPP, PML-N, PTI) race to a two-way (PPPP, PTI) contest. Pakisan Peoples Party Parliamentarian (PPPP) vote share rose from 31 percent to 60 percent, while that of Sunni Ittehad Council’s (SIC) candidate increased from 31 percent to 37 percent. However, vote share of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan’ (TLP) and JI’s vote shares slightly decreased. The constituency’s provisional result was ready by 1:30 a.m. on night of the polling-day. According to the Consolidated Statement of the Results of the Count furnished by the Presiding Officer (Form-48), no postal ballot was cast in the constituency during by-election. There were 83 such ballots cast during the general election 2024.

The persisting polling day canvassing and isolated instances of procedural omissions and irregularities particularly concerning the inadequate copies of result forms, lack of polling staff’s training, inadequate arrangements to protect voters’ secrecy, were observed during the polling process that otherwise remained peaceful and orderly. The ballot counting process was transparent, though not all legal requirements were met, such as providing copies of Result of the Count and Ballot Paper Account to all of the polling agents and independent observers present at the polling station.

Around 95 percent of the observed polling stations had party/candidate camps in their surroundings displaying banners and distributing voter chits and food. Party-supported vehicles provided voter transport at 76 percent observed polling stations.

The by-election was necessitated due to the resignation of Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani as he became member of the upper house of the Parliament. On April 08, 2024 the Election Commission of Pakistan announced the program of the by-election in NA-148 Multan-I.

According to the Lists of Contesting Candidates (FORM-33), a total of eight candidates including seven men and a woman contested for the constituency. Of these eight, four candidates represented political parties, while the remaining four contested independently. The Election Commission of Pakistan had setup 275 polling stations – 76 male, 68 female and 131 combined – comprising 933 polling booths – 485 male and 448 female – to cater to more than 444,231 registered voters in the constituency.

FAFEN deployed 20 Observers, including 15 men and five women, to observe the voting and counting processes at 80 out of 275 polling stations established in the constituency. This report is based on the observations received from 74 of these polling stations through FAFEN Election Day Observation mobile application.

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