— File photo
ISLAMABAD: The unofficial results of the country’s largest by-elections are out and as expected, the PML-N once again tops the electoral race by winning 18 of the 39 National and provincial assembly seats.
The PPP and the ANP, which had fared poorly in the general elections despite being in the ruling coalition for five years, seem to be awakening while the PTI’s ‘tsunami’ seems to have receded.
PTI chairman Imran Khan had won the elections from three NA constituencies and decided to retain Rawalpindi seat (NA-56). However, the PTI lost both Peshawar (NA-1) and Mr Khan’s ancestral seat from Mianwali (NA-71) in Thursday’s by-elections held in 15 constituencies of the National Assembly and 26 of the provincial assemblies.
The election commission ordered re-polling in two NA constituencies on a directive of the high court after reports that women had been barred from voting in NA-5 Nowshera and NA-27 Lakki Marwat.
As many as 519 candidates were in the run for 41 seats — 15 of national and 26 of provincial assemblies.
A low voter turnout was reported from most parts of the country. According to media reports, few people turned up for voting due to a general lack of interest in the by-election. The polling, however, overall remained peaceful.
Although no official data was available about the turnout, ECP secretary Ishtiak Ahmed Khan, while announcing the first unofficial result of a Punjab Assembly seat (PP-123) from Sialkot, termed it just 18 per cent in that constituency.
In Punjab, the PML-N once again emerged as the leading party by winning five out of six National Assembly seats and 10 out of 15 provincial assembly seats. The PPP won one NA and two provincial assembly seats followed by the PTI that clinched two provincial assembly seats from south Punjab.
The PML-N, however, suffered setbacks in three provincial assembly constituencies — two at the hands of the PTI in Rajanpur and DG Khan and one by the PPP in Okara.
In Rajanpur, PTI’s Sardar Ali Raza Dareshak defeated PML-N’s Abdul Qadir Khan Mamdot on the seat (PP-247) that had been vacated by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
The PML-N lost its seat from DG Khan (PP-243) where PTI’s Ahmad Ali Dareshak defeated Hassamuddin Khosa.
In Okara, PPP’s Khurram Jahangir Wattoo, the son of PPP Punjab president Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, deprived the PML-N of its earlier won seat by defeating Noorul Amin Wattoo.
Similarly, PML-N’s Obaidullah Shadikhel provided a major shock to the PTI in Mianwali by winning the home seat of Imran Khan.
PML-N’s Sardar Shafqat Hayat Khan has won the NA-68 (Sargodha) seat that had been vacated by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
In Muzaffargarh (NA-177), PPP’s Malik Noor Rabbani Khar won the seat that had been vacated by Jamshed Dasti who had won as an independent candidate.
The PTI retained its NA seat from the federal capital (NA-48) that had been vacated by Makhdoom Javed Hashmi. PTI’s Asad Umar managed to retain the seat by defeating PML-N’s Ashraf Gujjar, a newcomer in the election politics.
The PPP made a gain in Sindh as Shazia Mari defeated PML-F’s Khuda Bakhsh Daras on the NA seat from Sanghar (NA-235).
The ANP also improved its presence in the NA as former railways minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour defeated PTI’s Gul Badshah on the Peshawar seat (NA-1) that had been won by Imran Khan in May.
Acting Chief Election Commissioner Justice Tassaduq Jilani visited various polling stations in Karachi during which he said action would be taken if any report regarding rigging was received.
Saleem Shahid adds from Quetta: The ruling PML-N and Pakhtunkhawa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) retained one national and three provincial assembly seats.
The influential Magsi family has won its home provincial assembly seat with a big margin. The JUI-F and the JUI-Nazaryati could not attract the votes as religious votes were divided, helping the PkMAP win the NA seat from Qila Abdullah. The JUI-F was enjoying the support of ANP in the by-election.
Abdul Qahar Wadan of the PkMAP defeated JUI-F’s Haji Qari Sher Ali on the NA seat from Qila Abdullah (NA-262). PkMAP chairman Mehmood Khan Achakzai had won this NA seat in the May elections.
The PML-N won two provincial assembly seats from Nasirabad and Lasbela, while independent candidate Nawabzada Tariq Hussain Magsi grabbed PB-32 Jhal Magsi seat.
PML-N’s Mir Mohammad Khan Lehri retained the provincial assembly seat from Nasirabad (PB-29).
Prince Ahmed Ali Ahmedzai, the grandson of late Khan of Kalat Mir Ahmed Yar Khan, has been elected from Lasbela (PB-44).