ISLAMABAD: Amid allegations of rigging by various political parties, the 11th general election in the country on Wednesday produced some surprising results as a number of political heavyweights and seasoned politicians suffered defeat in their strongholds, albeit with a slim margin.
According to the unofficial results announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) so far, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan won all five seats where he had contested the elections, whereas the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari lost in their traditional strongholds.
The PPP chairperson, who was contesting polls from three constituencies for the first time, lost the contest in Malakand (NA-8) to PTI candidate Junaid Akbar. In a major upset, Mr Bhutto-Zardari also lost to PTI’s Shakoor Shad in Lyari (NA-246) in Karachi.
Maulana Fazl, Asfandyar, Achakzai, Sirajul Haq, Shahbaz, Bilawal, Nisar, Awais among losers
However, the PPP leader managed to win from his native constituency in Larkana (NA-200) with a significant margin against MMA candidate Rashid Soomro. Interestingly, the JUI-F chief lost in his hometown Dera Ismail Khan (NA-39).
Asfandyar Wali Khan, who heads the Awami National Party (ANP), lost the elections from his native Charsadda constituency (NA-24). The ANP president lost to Fazal Muhammad Khan of the PTI with a margin of over 23,000 votes.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif, who had contested the elections from four constituencies won only in Lahore. He lost the election in Karachi, Swat and Dera Ghazi Khan.
PML-N’s Sardar Awais Leghari also lost to PTI’s Zartaj Gul in his home constituency of D.G. Khan. Also in this camp is Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief Senator Sirajul Haq, who suffered a defeat in his native area of Lower Dir. His rival Muhammad Bashir Khan of the PTI bagged 63,017 votes against the 46,040 votes Mr Haq had received.
Another major political heavyweight who lost in the election is Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan who has been a permanent feature of the National Assembly since 1985. This time around, the politician from Chakri lost both seats (NA-59 and NA-63) in Rawalpindi district to Ghulam Sarwar Khan of the PTI. The estranged PML-N leader had contested the election as an independent candidate on the symbol of “jeep”. Ghulam Sarwar Khan bagged 89,055 votes in NA-59 while Chaudhry Nisar got 66,369 votes. In NA-63 Sarwar Khan bagged 100,986 votes defeating Mr Nisar who could get only 65,767 votes.
Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbassi also lost the two seats he was contesting from to PTI candidates. In Islamabad, he was defeated by PTI chief Imran Khan, whereas in Murree, his native town, he faced defeat at the hands of PTI’s Sadaqat Abbasi.
Besides Islamabad, the PTI chairman managed to secure seats from his hometown Mianwali, Karachi, Lahore and Bannu. He faced the toughest contest in Lahore’s NA-131 constituency where he defeated former railways minister and firebrand PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique with a slim margin of nearly 600 votes. The PTI chief, however, surprised political observers by defeating MMA’s Akram Khan Durrani, in the latter’s native Bannu.
Another important aspect of the general elections was the defeat of “electables” from the PPP who had recently joined the PTI. The results show that Nazar Mohammad Gondal, Nadeem Afzal Chan and Firdous Ashiq Awan lost the elections even though they had tickets of the PTI, making it clear that voters in their respective constituencies did not appreciate their decision to switch loyalties.
Another senior ANP leader, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, lost the election from NA-31 in Peshawar. He was defeated by PTI’s Shaukat Ali. Making a democratic gesture, Mr Bilour was the first politician who openly conceded defeat and felicitated his rival over the victory.
Former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf of the PPP managed to win the election from NA-58, Gujjar Khan. The ex-premier polled 125,090 votes whereas Chaudhary Muhammad Azeem of the PTI was the runner up with 96,574.
Former Punjab chief minister Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, who contested the election after seat adjustment with the PTI, won from Chakwal.
In a tough contest, former foreign minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif of the PML-N defeated PTI’s Usman Dar in NA-73 (Sialkot-II) after recount, with a margin of a little over 1,000 votes. Khawaja Asif bagged 116,957 votes while Muhammad Usman Dar of the PTI got 115,464 votes.
In NA-78 Narowal, former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal defeated PTI’s Abrarul Haq.
Other prominent winners are Khurram Dastagir Khan, Rana Sanaullah, Hamza Shahbaz, Shafqat Mehmood (PTI), Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada; Makhdoom Khusro Bukhtyar (PTI) and Dr Fehmida Mirza (GDA).
Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2018