The ruling PTI led by PM Imran Khan suffered heavy losses against opposition PML-N in the by elections held on 35 provincial and national assembly seats. The PTI lost two seats vacated by PM Imran Khan in Lahore and Bannu. PML-N and MMA won these seats respectively. PTI chief and PM Imran Khan won the both seats with a narrow margin against his opponents but PTI candidates failed to defend their seats.
PTI lost three national assembly and 7 provincial assembly seats it won on July 25. PML-N is the major beneficiary of this electoral upset. It might not change the overall party position in the national and provincial assemblies in a big way but PTI will be more dependent on its allies to keep its majority.
This election was not about making or breaking the government but for the political prestige and honour. It was an opportunity for the PTI to prove that it is still the most popular party in the country. But it failed to perform better in the key battle ground Punjab.
PML-N has proved that it is still the power to reckon in Punjab. PML-N lost badly PTI in North Punjab but it succeeded to win back two provincial and one national assembly seats from this region of Punjab. PML-N won all the four seats from Lahore to keep its domination on the provincial metropolis.
The by election is a warning for the PTI that if it failed to fulfill the promises it made during the election campaign then it will be in serious trouble. The electoral setbacks also raised questions over the selection of candidates and organizational structures of the party. If this trend continued then it will face a serious challenge in the local government elections due in 2020.
The PTI number of seats in the National Assembly has increased by four, its ally party, PML-Q’s seats went up by two, PML-N’s number of seats increased by four, and MMA got one more seat in the NA.
Whatever PTI leaders and ministers are saying about the election results, the reality is that it will be demoralising for the party workers. PTI needs to think seriously about the party matters and structures to mobilise its workers for the future elections. PTI visibly failed to mobilise its voters in big numbers in many constituencies.
The major setback for the PTI came in NA-131 (Lahore), where the PML-N candidate Khawaja Saad Rafique defeated PTI’s Hamayun Akhter Khan. This seat was vacated by Prime Minister Imran Khan. Imran Khan won with narrow margin of 680 votes but Saad Rafique won this seat with the reasonable margin of 10,000 votes.
In Punjab, the by-elections were held for 11 seats, out of which the PML-N won six seats, PTI stood second with three seats and two seats were won by independents. PML-N retained all its seats in the by elections. But PTI lost its seats.
In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf won five seats, three were won by Awami National Party (ANP), and the PML-N bagged one seat.
For two Sindh Assembly seats, by-elections were held in PS-30 and PS-87 constituencies, and both were won by Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP). In Balochistan, one seat was won by Balochistan National Party (BAP) while the other was won by an independent.
The National Assembly constituencies where the by-elections were held included NA-35 Bannu, NA-53 Islamabad, NA-56 Attock, NA-60 Rawalpindi, NA-63 Rawalpindi, NA-65 Chakwal, NA-69 Gujrat, NA-103 Faisalabad, NA-124 Lahore, NA-131 Lahore and NA-243 Karachi East.
Elections were held on 24 seats of the provincial assemblies including 11 seats of the Punjab Assembly, nine of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and two each of Sindh and Balochistan. For 11 National Assembly seats, by-elections were held in nine constituencies in Punjab, one in Sindh and one in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
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26 May, 2019