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PML-N smashed PTI in by-polls

By News Desk

April 28, 2024 06:13 PM


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The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has won the majority of seats in by-elections for National and Provincial Assembly seats. By-elections were held on 21 National and Provincial Assembly seats amidst tight security and suspension of cellular and internet services in specific districts of Punjab and Balochistan to maintain law and order. Out of five the ruling PML-N got the lion’s share in the key by-elections by winning two National and 10 Provincial Assembly seats while one each was grabbed by PPP, SIC and an independent candidate. Two seats each of the National Assembly in Punjab and KPK and one seat in Sindh, while twelve seats of the Punjab Assembly and two each of KPK and Balochistan Assemblies were up for grabs.

The PML-N, the PTI-backed by the SIC and the PPP participated in the by-polls however, the JUI-F boycotted. The reason for the boycott of JUI-F perhaps was the bleak apparent political position of Molana in his home constituency. With an open arena, Gandapur won the seat. The PML-N won 10 out of 16 seats in the provincial assemblies, including nine from Punjab and one from Balochistan. One seat each was won by the PPP, the SIC, the IPP, the PML-N, the BNP and an independent candidate. Earlier, the general elections were held across the country on February 8 this year to elect representatives for the National Assembly and four provincial assemblies. But polls were cancelled for one National Assembly, two Punjab Assembly and one seat of KP Assembly.

In Punjab, NA-132 and NA-119 were vacated by Shehbaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz, while Shehbaz also gave up two of his provincial assembly seats in Lahore. He, however, retained his NA-123 seat in the National Assembly. Apart from these leaders, candidates who had won more than one seat opted for a chosen seat after the elections, leaving the ECP to organise by-elections on 21 seats, including five National and 16 provincial assembly seats. Foolproof security measures were taken by the authorities to control the law and order situation, with the deployment of army troops to maintain peace during the day-long process of by-elections.

The voters in Punjab, the largest province of the country, are turning towards the PML-N. In the by-elections of five seats of the National Assembly and 16 seats of the Provincial Assemblies, the PML-N has confirmed this trend by winning eleven seats. Among them are the seats vacated by Shehbaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz in Lahore. The PPP and SIC won two seats each, while PML-Q, IPP and BNP took one seat each. In Bajaur KP, an independent candidate caused a big upset by defeating the ruling party of the KPK province.

The PPP won the seat vacated by Bilawal Bhutto in Sindh with a huge majority and thus proved its claim of popularity in Sindh. The defeat of Pervez Elahi and his son Munis Elahi was a big blow to PTI (which is now reshaped and renamed as SIC). Parvez Elahi’s defeat by Shujaat Hussain’s nephew Musa Elahi by a huge margin is an extraordinary blow which will not be forgotten for a long time both by Pervaiz Ilahi and Imran Khan. Lahore has been believed the stronghold of PML-N for long. The PML-N took complete electoral charge in the arena. Due to the deployment of the army and the diligence of the law enforcement agencies including the police, the polling generally remained peaceful, but at some places, there were incidents of exchange of hot words, shouting slogans, abuse and beatings among the workers of different political parties.

On some occasions cases of sporadic violence were reported. In one such incident in Narowal, a PML-N worker was beaten to death by PTI (SIC) opponents. The accused was arrested. There were incidents of violence and firing in some other cities, in which several people were injured. Many political activists involved in violent incidents were arrested. The losers find multiple reasons for their complacency and their targets are always the establishment and the ECP. Regarding the by-elections, PTI( SIC) leaders once again as usual have alleged that the ECP and establishment could not conduct fair and transparent elections. In this regard, ECP has also taken notice of the pre-signing of Form 45 by polling agents in one constituency and has sought an immediate report from EC Punjab. The officer concerned has simply admitted that he signed in advance to save time. It reflects the vigilance of the EC.

The EC should take strict action against the officer concerned to prevent the recurrence of such incidents and should also take proper notice of other incidents of irregularities in the light of evidence. If evidence is found action according to the course of law should be taken otherwise those who blamed it be taken to task. It is usual for the losers to try to hide their defeat under the veil of election rigging. Such allegations continued to be made in all the elections held. There is a need to bring such reforms in the system to ensure the transparency of the election. Even after this, those making baseless allegations of rigging should be held strictly accountable. 

–Writen by Naveed Aman Khan. a political analyst and author of several books, based in Islamabad


News Desk


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