ISLAMABAD, May 12: In order to uniquely express their enthusiasm and mark victory of their party, the traders of Aabpara distributed 100kg of sweets among all passers-by while raising slogans to glorify the Pakistan Muslim League-N.
However, its performance in Islamabad and the garrison city is a cause of concern for the party.
The result in NA-49 Islamabad is unexpectedly in favour of the PML-N candidate Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry.
His vote count is almost the double of the Pakistan People’s Party stalwart Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, and even the PTI waves, led by Ilyas Meharban, could not bog him down.
The political pundits and the PML-N candidate himself were shaky over his position amid strong canvassing by the Jamaat-i-Islami candidate Zubair Farooq, the Tsunami threats of the PTI and the joint strength of the old PPP warhorse Chairman Senate Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari and the Khokhar clan.
While Dr Tariq has limited words to describe his victory, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, talking to Dawn, said the exceptionally high turnout favoured the ‘tiger’.
“I had calculated that a victory would require around 45,000 to 46,000, and I would get it. This has been the tradition too,” Mr Khokhar said, adding, “We were expecting that the PTI and the PML-N votes would cut into each other and each would bag around 35,000 – 40,000 votes.”
There are around 225,000 votes in NA-49, which constitutes mostly of the rural parts of the federal capital, and the turnout in the elections 2013 was above 65 percent.
Similarly in NA-48 the two hot candidates, Anjum Aqeel of PML-N and Mian Aslam of the JI, failed to register their mark.
Despite being local residents, both former MNAs from NA-48 were routed by Javed Hashmi of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, who bagged more than 73,000 votes compared to the 52,000 of Anjum Aqeel and 25,000 of Mian Aslam. The PPP’s Faisal Sakhi Butt received just over 9,000 votes.
This is despite the fact that Mr Hashmi could not give much time for canvassing in the constituency.
Mr Hashmi has repeated the 2008 feast when he was in the PML-N and won a seat from Multan and another from NA-55 Rawalpindi, but that time both seats were in the PML-N strongholds.
This time, apart from Multan, he has penetrated a different terrain for his party and comfortably aced through NA-48 urban.
Though it is yet not clear whether he would vacate the Islamabad seat or the Multan constituency, political workers expect he would remain an MNA from his hometown and leave Islamabad.
The PML-N candidate and the supporters of JI simply attributed the results to the general atmosphere and the PTI sentimental wave after the fall of PTI Chief in the last days of the election campaign.
However, taking to Dawn, a number of PML-N diehards clearly stated that only those candidates who had a shady track record faced the defeat.
“We all misjudged the level of awareness among the general public; the votes bagged are not bad but the performance of the victors is remarkable,” said a PML-N worker based in Islamabad.
He said there was something in each of the party candidates that had lost, stating that, “Anjum Aqeel and Hanif Abbasi had corruption charges and similar cases that came up in media too, and same is the case with Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar - his family is blamed for land grabbing.”
A former nazim based in Taxila and affiliated with the PML-N had similar arguments and said the PML-N candidates who had lost (including Malik Shakeel Awan and Ch Nisar Ali) had distanced themselves from the public.
“There is an old English saying ‘Pride comes before fall’. This is what Chaudhry Nisar is facing in Taxila but at the same time, his attitude in NA-52 was totally different as he was very social there.”
He said that NA-52 was a remote constituency which had large tracts of rural population and the influence of urbanisation was limited. In contrast, Taxila was urbanized and voters there cast heavily against Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.”
“Based on our analysis, we feel if Mr Hashmi vacates Islamabad then the party should field a middle class candidate with clean hands, as the voters are not impressed with rich people because all the PML-N, PPP and the JI candidates are billionaires,” he said.