Imran Khan Stuns PML-N-led Ruling Coalition In Bypolls; Wins 6 National Assembly Seats - Eastern Mirror
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Imran Khan stuns PML-N-led ruling coalition in bypolls; wins 6 National Assembly seats

By PTI Updated: Oct 17, 2022 9:24 pm

Islamabad, Oct. 17 (PTI): The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party led by former prime minister Imran Khan on Monday swept the crucial by-elections, winning six out of eight National Assembly seats and two out of three provincial assembly seats in Punjab, in another jolt to the Shehbaz Sharif government.

The main contest was between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Eight seats of the National Assembly (NA) and three of the Punjab provincial assembly fell vacant after the PTI lawmakers resigned following the toppling of Khan’s government in April.

Khan, who contested seven National Assembly seats in the crucial by-elections held on Sunday, emerged victorious in six constituencies, building forward momentum in his drive to push the six-month-old PML-N-led government into announcing an early general election.

The 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician was defeated on a seat in Karachi by a candidate of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which managed to clinch two National Assembly seats NA-157 Multan and NA-237 Karachi which were bagged by the PTI in the 2018 general elections.

In Multan, former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani’s son Ali Musa Gillani defeated Meher Bano, daughter of former foreign minister and PTI leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi. This was the only NA seat where Khan did not contest the by-poll.

The Multan contest was keenly watched as it showcased the influential Gilani and Qureshi families of the city fighting for a key seat.

Apart from winning six NA seats, the PTI also won two Punjab assembly seats to further strengthen the position of its supported chief minister Chaudhry Pervez Elahi.

PTI Secretary General Asad Umar said that the results of the election was another chance for the decision makers to realise their mistake and take Pakistan towards a new election.

The ruling PML-N got just one provincial assembly seat in Punjab to become the main loser of the day, which was seen by many as the litmus test for parties ahead of next year’s general elections.

A total of 101 candidates from different political parties and independents took part in the vote: 52 in Punjab, 33 in Sindh and 16 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

In July, Khan’s party had won 15 out of 20 seats in the crucial Punjab assembly by-polls while PML-N secured victory on four seats. An independent candidate also won.

Apparently, the PML-N led by Prime Minister Sharif is paying the price of failing to control the raging inflation but PTI has also suffered as it lost three seats out of 11 that its lawmakers had vacated.

It is said that PTI’s reversal of fortunes would have been even more drastic had Khan not opted to contest on seven seats. It not only faces a threat of revival of PML-N in Punjab but also that of a resurgent PPP in Karachi.

The Awami National Party (ANP) controlled by Bacha Khan’s descendants also fared better in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and reduced the margins of Khan’s victory. The province is controlled by PTI and the revival of ANP may pose a threat to Khan in general elections.

Khan will use his victory to press for early elections, which had been his main demand since his removal from office, but he may not succeed to get snap polls as the coalition government is still strong enough to resist the pressure.

Around 4.472 million voters are registered in these constituencies. In Punjab, 1,434 polling stations have been established, 979 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and 340 in Sindh.

There were sporadic incidents of violence at various places but overall the polling process remained smooth and peaceful.

Strict security measures were taken by the authorities to maintain peace and apart from police and paramilitary Rangers and Frontier Corps, regular troops were also deployed at sensitive polling stations.

Since his removal from office through a no-confidence vote, Khan has been campaigning for snap polls and regularly holding rallies. It helped him to win 15 out of 20 seats of the Punjab assembly in July when by-elections were held.

By PTI Updated: Oct 17, 2022 9:24:00 pm
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