Polling for eleven (11) National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament and twenty-four (24) provincial seats saw fierce competition between newly elected PTI and the main opposition PML-N in Pakistan. Pakistan’s ruling party under new PM Imran Khan failed to get a clear majority in parliament after key by-elections. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) won 15 seats of the total 36. The PTI won eleven (11) seats of the provincial assemblies while the PML-N won seven (07).
Shockingly for PTI, it lost two of its seats vacated by its chief and PM Imran Khan. His seat in Lahore was won by former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi of the PML-N and in Bannu by Zahid Akram Durrani of the Muttahida Majlis Amal (MMA) party.
However, what is noteworthy is that the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) increased its seat count to 85. As seen above, in the by-elections on 24 provincial assembly seats eleven (11) in Punjab, nine (09) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and two (02) each in Sindh and Balochistan), the PTI was leading in nine constituencies (four in Punjab and five in KP) while the PML-N was ahead in six constituencies (five in Punjab and one in KP).
PML-N rises from the Phoenix
What does this improved poll performance by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in the by-elections indicate? Such a tilt in less than three months after general elections sure must be disturbing for Imran Khan and reassuring for ousted former PM Nawaz Sharif. The fact that people came out to poll in large numbers is itself indicative of an uncertain future for PTI.
In the by-elections, Sharif’s PML-N managed not only to improve its position in the National Assembly by bagging four (04) NA seats but also extended gains in the Punjab provincial assembly by securing
five (05) more seats.
Former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi emerged victorious in the by-election and PML-N even nearly won from the Rawalpindi constituency. These results most certainly send out a message and are indicative of the times to come.