Final Results Of Election In Pakistan Essay

Further information: List of members of the 14th National Assembly of Pakistan



All 342 seats in the National Assembly
172 seats needed for a majority
Turnout55.02%[1]( 11.01pp)

General Elections result.[3]


General elections were held in Pakistan on 11 May 2013 to elect the members of the 14th National Assembly and to the four provincial assemblies of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Elections were held in all four provinces, Islamabad's federal capital territory and in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The remaining two territories of Pakistan, the Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, were ineligible to vote due to their disputed status. Allegations on systematic vote rigging, favouritism, and ethnicity trends on political parties marred with controversy regarding the nationwide elections; this eventually led to anti-government march that called for electoral reforms in 2014.

The fifth largest democracy[4] and second largest Muslim democracy after Indonesia in the world,[5] the elections are noted for the first civilian transfer of power following the successful completion of a five-year term by a democratically elected government.[6] Election took place in 272 constituencies, whilst a further 70 seats were awarded to parties having been reserved for women and minority groups; none of the parties achieved the 172 seats needed for an overall majority.[7] The Pakistan Muslim League (N) won the largest number of votes and seats but still fell six seats short; this resulted in a hung parliament where no party was able to command a majority in the National Assembly.[8] Initial results saw the hung parliament for a second consecutive general election—the first being the prior general election in 2008. Potential for a hung parliament was widely considered and predicted as both countries' politicians were better prepared for the constitutional process that would follow such a result, in contrast to 2008.[9][10]

Speculations for the potential hung parliament were dismissed when the independent candidates joined the PML (N) which allowed that party to form a simple-majority government by bringing on-board nineteen independent candidates, thirteen more than the minimum required to form a government. This swing ultimately resulted in Nawaz Sharif becoming the newPrime Minister of Pakistan.[11]

Prior to the elections, the centre-left PPP formed an alliance with PML(Q), while on the conservative side, the PML (N) allied with PML(F) and Baloch parties. Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan led the right wing PTI, and the Jamaat-e-Islami also participated in the elections. PPP and PML(Q) saw their vote share plummet, with the former being essentially being wiped out in Punjab. [12][13][14][15]

Background[edit]

Main article: Long March (Pakistan)

By Constitution's stipulation on Time of conducting elections in the country, the [general] election are to be held at an interval of five years or whenever parliament is dissolved by the President.[16] Upon dissolution of the National Assembly (a lower house of the Parliament), the elections are to be held within a period of sixty days immediately under a caretaker set–up.[17] The previous elections were held in February 2008 and its term naturally expired on February 2013.

In mid-January 2013, Sufi cleric and politician Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri led a Long March from Lahore to Islamabad, which is over 350 km, demanding the electoral reforms, the quick dissolution of the National Assembly and a precise date for the election. The march attracted about ~50,000 participants from across Pakistan and ended peacefully. However, this appeared to have little impact on the PPP government who continued on as per normal, and were seemingly following their plan as to when to announce elections. The anti-corruption activism led by Imran Khan gathered momentum and political interests.[18]

In the run up to the elections, a US Congressional report provided a brief overview of the PPP government between 2008 and 2013. The annual report included the input of 16 US intelligence agencies, including the CIA, which pointed the policies and performances of the PPP government during their five-year term. The report wanted that "Economically, trouble looms. Pakistan, with its small tax base, poor system of tax collection, and reliance on foreign aid, faces no real prospects for sustainable economic growth. The government has been unwilling to address economic problems that continue to constrain economic growth. The PPP government has made no real effort to persuade its disparate coalition members to accept much-needed monetary policy and tax reforms, because members are simply focused on retaining their seats in the upcoming elections."[19]

Process[edit]

Main article: Elections in Pakistan

With assistance from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)announced the printing of computerised electoral rolls, the first of its kind database which resulted in the elimination of 35 million bogus voters off the list.[20]

Schedule[edit]

  • 1 August 2012: The Election Commission of Pakistan announces 2012 general elections would be held on the basis of same old constituencies.[21]
  • December 2012: The Supreme Court of Pakistan orders delimitation of constituencies and door-to-door verification of voters with the help of Pakistan Army in Karachi.[citation needed]
  • 17 January 2013: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) starts door-to-door verification of voters list.[22]
  • 3 February 2013: President Asif Ali Zardari announced the date for the general elections in the country, between 8 and 14 March 2013.[23]
  • 31 March 2013: Last date to submit the candidates' papers.

Caretaker government[edit]

Following the recommendations in Article 224 (Clauses 1A-1B) of the constitution of Pakistan, there arose a need to form a caretaker government to operate in the interim period between the normal dissolution of parliament, facilitating the election process, until a new government was formed after the election results were known.[24] To this effect, prime minister Pervez Ashraf wrote a letter to the opposition leaderNisar Ali Khan, requesting him to propose names of persons for appointment as the caretaker prime minister.

The Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PML-N), Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan (JI), Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI) and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) all agreed on the name of retired senior justiceNasir Aslam Zahid as the caretaker PM until the elections take place.[25] After a failure to achieve a consensus between the PPP government and the opposition, the matter was forwarded to a parliamentary committee of four members from both the government and the opposition.[26]

Under the provision of Article 224-A (Clause 3) of the constitution,[27] the Election Commission announced the appointment of retired Federal Shariat Courtchief justiceMir Hazar Khan Khoso on 24 March 2013 in a press conference held by chief election commissionerFakhruddin G Ebrahim.[28][29] Consequently, Khoso was sworn into office as the caretaker prime minister on 25 March 2013,[30] while his caretaker federal cabinet was sworn into office on 2 April 2013.[31]

Registered voters[edit]

Following is the final list of registered voters in each district of Pakistan who are eligible to cast their vote.[32]

  • The total number of registered voters for the election were 76,194,802.
  • The province of Punjab had the highest number of registered voters.
  • In cities, five districts of Karachi which form the city of Karachi had a total of 7,171,237 registered voters; more than total voters of the province of Balochistan and more than any other city or district in Pakistan.
  • In Balochistan, due to sparse population, some National Assembly seats were shared by two or three districts.
ProvinceDistrictNo. of VotersSeat No
BalochistanAwaran56,387NA-270
BalochistanBarkhan55,327NA-263
BalochistanChagai66,836NA-260
BalochistanDera Bugti63,953NA-265
BalochistanGwadar93,650NA-272
BalochistanHarnai33,140NA-265
BalochistanJaffarabad247,316NA-266
BalochistanJhal Magsi44,533NA-267
BalochistanKachhi (Bolan)103,108NA-267
BalochistanKalat104,445NA-268
BalochistanKech173,972NA-272
BalochistanKharan45,176NA-271
BalochistanKhuzdar165,593NA-269
BalochistanKilla Abdullah184,832NA-262
BalochistanKilla Saifullah88,424NA-264
BalochistanKohlu38,624NA-265
BalochistanLasbela182,697NA-270
BalochistanLoralai107,028NA-263
BalochistanMastung80,118NA-268
BalochistanMusakhel51,864NA-263
BalochistanNasirabad162,349NA-266
BalochistanNushki61,878NA-260
BalochistanPanjgur74,751NA-271
BalochistanPishin196,859NA-261
BalochistanQuetta559,939NA-259
BalochistanSherani31,837NA-264
BalochistanSibi75,832NA-265
BalochistanWashuk38,171NA-271
BalochistanZhob96,278NA-264
BalochistanZiarat51,742NA-261
BALOCHISTANTOTAL3,336,659NA-259 to NA-272
FATABajaur Agency353,554NA-43, NA-44
FATAF.R. Bannu9,482NA-47
FATAF.R. D. I. Khan22,269NA-47
FATAF.R. Kohat41,070NA-47
FATAF.R. Lakki Marwat9,939NA-47
FATAF.R. Peshawar23,371NA-47
FATAF.R. Tank15,581NA-47
FATAKhyber Agency336,763NA-45, NA-46
FATAKurram Agency262,021NA-37, NA-38
FATAMohmand Agency177,244NA-36
FATANorth Waziristan Agency160,666NA-40
FATAOrakzai Agency125,687NA-39
FATASouth Waziristan Agency200,666NA-41, NA-42
FATATOTAL1,738,313NA-36 to NA-47
Federal AreaIslamabad625,964NA-48, NA-49
Khyber PakhtunkhwaAbbottabad675,188NA-17, NA-18
Khyber PakhtunkhwaBannu444,059NA-26
Khyber PakhtunkhwaBatagram204,980NA-22
Khyber PakhtunkhwaBuner360,019NA-28
Khyber PakhtunkhwaCharsadda704,680NA-7, NA-8
Khyber PakhtunkhwaChitral206,909NA-32
Khyber PakhtunkhwaD. I. Khan606,959NA-24
Khyber PakhtunkhwaHangu214,703NA-16
Khyber PakhtunkhwaHaripur531,866NA-19
Khyber PakhtunkhwaKarak315,087NA-15
Khyber PakhtunkhwaKohat409,372NA-14
Khyber PakhtunkhwaKohistan127,015NA-23
Khyber PakhtunkhwaLakki Marwat330,274NA-27
Khyber PakhtunkhwaLower Dir541,565NA-34
Khyber PakhtunkhwaMalakand311,172NA-35
Khyber PakhtunkhwaMansehra742,674NA-20
Khyber PakhtunkhwaMardan987,122NA-9, NA-10, NA-11
Khyber PakhtunkhwaNowshera619,914NA-5, NA-6
Khyber PakhtunkhwaPeshawar1,393,144NA-1, NA-2, NA-3, NA-4
Khyber PakhtunkhwaShangla296,722NA-31
Khyber PakhtunkhwaSwabi714,454NA-12, NA-13
Khyber PakhtunkhwaSwat981,823NA-29, NA-30
Khyber PakhtunkhwaTank150,585NA-25
Khyber PakhtunkhwaTor Ghar64,867NA-21
Khyber PakhtunkhwaUpper Dir331,004NA-33
KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWATOTAL12,266,157NA-1 to NA-35
PunjabAttock1,022,180NA-57, NA-58, NA-59
PunjabBahawalnagar1,264,077NA-188, NA-189, NA-190, NA-191
PunjabBahawalpur1,522,061NA-183, NA-184, NA-185, NA-186, NA-187
PunjabBhakkar711,837NA-73, NA-74
PunjabChakwal929,747NA-60, NA-61
PunjabChiniot602,290NA-86, NA-87, NA-88
PunjabDera Ghazi Khan1,052,720NA-171, NA-172, NA-173
PunjabFaisalabad3,622,748NA-75, NA-76, NA-77, NA-78, NA-79,
NA-80, NA-81, NA-82, NA-83, NA-84, NA-85
PunjabGujranwala2,273,141NA-95, NA-96, NA-97, NA-98, NA-99, NA-100, NA-101
PunjabGujrat1,581,402NA-104, NA-105, NA-106, NA-107
PunjabHafizabad543,646NA-102, NA-103
PunjabJhang1,145,415NA-89, NA-90, NA-91
PunjabJhelum783,571NA-62, NA-63
PunjabKasur1,463,575NA-138, NA-139, NA-140, NA-141, NA-142
PunjabKhanewal1,301,926NA-156, NA-157, NA-158, NA-159
PunjabKhushab680,471NA-69, NA-70
PunjabLahore4,410,095NA-118, NA-119, NA-120, NA-121, NA-122, NA-123, NA-124,
NA-125, NA-126, NA-127, NA-128, NA-129, NA-130
PunjabLayyah736,509NA-181, NA-182
PunjabLodhran727,177NA-154, NA-155
PunjabMandi Bahauddin815,154NA-108, NA-109
PunjabMianwali757,191NA-71, NA-72
PunjabMultan2,110,177NA-148, NA-149, NA-150, NA-151, NA-152, NA-153
PunjabMuzaffargarh1,681,436NA-176, NA-177, NA-178, NA-179, NA-180
PunjabNankana Sahib623,625NA-135, NA-136, NA-137
PunjabNarowal792,379NA-115, NA-116, NA-117
PunjabOkara1,396,811NA-143, NA-144, NA-145, NA-146, NA-147
PunjabPakpattan823,478NA-164, NA-165, NA-166
PunjabRahim Yar Khan1,904,615NA-192, NA-193, NA-194, NA-195, NA-196, NA-197
PunjabRajanpur724,286NA-174, NA-175
PunjabRawalpindi2,645,608NA-50, NA-51, NA-52, NA-53, NA-54, NA-55, NA-56
PunjabSahiwal1,190,424NA-160, NA-161, NA-162, NA-163
PunjabSargodha1,861,804NA-64, NA-65, NA-66, NA-67, NA-68
PunjabSheikhupura1,341,341NA-131, NA-132, NA-133, NA-134
PunjabSialkot1,841,347NA-110, NA-111, NA-112, NA-113, NA-114
PunjabToba Tek Singh1,089,508NA-92, NA-93, NA-94
PunjabVehari1,285,562NA-167, NA-168, NA-169, NA-170
PUNJABTOTAL49,259,334NA-50 to NA-197
SindhBadin639,314NA-224, NA-225
SindhDadu609,609NA-231, NA-232, NA-233
SindhGhotki568,065NA-200, NA-201
SindhHyderabad923,140NA-218, NA-219, NA-220, NA-221
SindhJacobabad394,557NA-208, NA-209, NA-210
SindhJamshoro369,424NA-231
SindhKambar-Shahdadkot508,062NA-206
SindhKarachi Central1,632,487NA-244, NA-245, NA-246, NA-247
SindhKarachi East2,093,898NA-253, NA-254, NA-255, NA-256
SindhKarachi South1,131,376NA-248, NA-249, NA-250, NA-251, NA-252
SindhKarachi West1,493,055NA-239, NA-240, NA-241, NA-242, NA-243
SindhKarachi Malir820,421NA-257, NA-258
SindhKashmore353,616NA-210
SindhKhairpur838,502NA-215, NA-216, NA-217
SindhLarkana585,519NA-204, NA-205, NA-207
SindhMatiari300,486NA-223
SindhMirpur Khas585,262NA-226, NA-227
SindhNaushahro Feroze600,090NA-211, NA-212
SindhSanghar793,397NA-234, NA-235, NA-236
SindhShaheed Benazirabad668,193NA-213, NA-214
SindhShikarpur488,878NA-202, NA-203
SindhSukkur527,635NA-198, NA-199
SindhTando Allahyar286,956NA-223
SindhTando Muhammad Khan230,554NA-222
SindhTharparkar471,831NA-229, NA-230
SindhThatta663,543NA-237, NA-238
SindhUmerkot385,505NA-228
SINDHTOTAL18,963,375NA-198 to NA-258
PAKISTANTOTAL86,194,802

Campaign[edit]

With the announcement of the care-taker government, campaigning from parties—including the PPP, PML (N) and PTI—started as early as 27 March, six weeks ahead of the 11 May election date.[33] Observers noted that different parties stressed on different interest groups – PTI on the disaffected youth, PML-N on the centre-right constituency, PPP on liberal classes and rural Sindhis, and MQM on Karachi-based muhajirs. Power shortages were another issue in the election campaign.[34]

Pakistan Peoples Party[edit]

Main articles: New Left, Socialism in Pakistan, and Centre-left

Founded in 1968, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is a centre-left and left oriented party, with a mainstream agenda of promoting socialist economics and social justice. The PPP announced that Bilawal Zardari would be its candidate for the next Prime Minister, though Zardari was still too young to become Prime Minister. Article 62 of the Constitution clearly states that the Prime Minister must be a person who is "not less than twenty-five years of age and is enrolled as a voter in any electoral roll for election to the seat".[35] Zardari was not 25 until September 2013.[36] On 5 May 2013, it was revealed that Zardari had left Pakistan for Dubai and would not be present at all on election day. He unexpectedly left the country and would not be addressing any party rallies or meetings. The PPP also announced that he would not return until after the elections are over.[37]

The PPP's campaign was led by Amin Fahim, accompanied by notable leftist activists such as Taj Haider, Aitzaz Ahsan, Raza Rabbani, and Yousaf Gillani.[38] The PPP ran two different political programmes during the election campaign: "Massawat" (lit. Egalitarianism) and "People's Employment Programme" for the youth voters, and also its vintage "Roti Kapda Aur Makaan (lit. Bread, Cloth, House) slogan.[39] The PPP highlighted its implementation of the nationalization and welfare programs that were launched in 2008.[39] In addition, the PPP greatly supported awareness of industrial and labor rights, importance of higher education in the country, promotion of social economics, a foreign policy of building relations with Russia and Eastern Europe, counterterrorism legislation, efforts to reduce gas shortages in the country.[40][41] Generally, the PPP's main focused was on gathering its support from Sindh.[2] In a critical editorial in the English-language newspaper, The Nation, the PPP neglected to highlight the prevailing issue of energy conservation to reduce the repeated cycle of loadshedding in the country.[41]

Soon after the PM’s last address on 16 March 2013, TV carried live broadcasts from the streets of Lahore and Karachi, where the public mood was one of anger over corruption, the bad economy, and faulty public services. The reaction of political analysts was mixed, with many holding massive corruption and nepotism as the reasons for the government's perceived failures. Even in his televised address, while trumpeting the occasion, PM Raja P Ashraf quietly conceded that his government had also been a source of disappointment for many. Public resentment had been fed by an endless list of problems: enduring power shortages [up to 18 hours a day at the peak of summer]; the failure to curb terrorist attacks, protect religious minorities and formulate a coherent anti-terrorism strategy; slow and weak response to the floods; sluggish economic growth, a bloated public sector, cresting inflation; and tales of legendary corruption, carving out private fortunes from a treasury to which they scandalously paid little in tax. Many Pakistanis, particularly among the urban middle classes, were looking to the next elections with relief.[42]

In Karachi and other parts of the country, the PPP also maintained a New Left alliance with the ANP, MQM, and Communist Party against the conservative parties in Sindh.[43]

Pakistan Muslim League[edit]

Main articles: New Right, Centre-right, and Conservatism in Pakistan

The Pakistan Muslim League, a centre-right conservative party, began its campaign on terminating the energy conservation crises, and also the issues involving the national security, economic development, higher education, immigration, and taxation reforms.[44] The campaign was led by Nawaz Sharif, who emphasis the success of the privatisation to alleviate youth employment and small businesses, introducing policies for the environmental preservation, building motorways, counterterrorism legislation, economic liberalisation, improvement of the public transportation in all over the country, and then the decision of authorising the nuclear-testing programme in 1998.[45] Over several days, Sharif delivered speeches and visited in all over the country for the support, promising that: "Just like the nuclear blasts, conducted in our last tenure, made us an atomic power, an economic explosion in our next term will turn the country into a commercial powerhouse."[46][47] Furthermore, the PML(N) indicated to bring a balance on civil-military relations with the military, through opening a source of political channel to resolve issues.[48]

The PML(N) ran a political programme which was termed as "Ilmi aur Maashi Dhamaka" (lit. Education and Economic boom) at the public circles, and gained a lot of public support from all over the Punjab, and the financial support from the business community in Karachi, which proved to be a crucial factor in PML(N)'s efforts to gain majority in the elections.[49] After delivering a victory speech on May 2013, Nawaz Sharif became Prime Minister for a third term on 5 June 2013 after receiving vote of confidence in the Parliament. He received 244 votes in the 342-seat parliament.[50] The PML(N) was generally supported by PML(F) against the PPP in Sindh and BNP in Balochistan, also against the PPP.[51] Terming it as "EEE programme" for Education, Energy, Economy, the PML(N) popularise its slogan "Stronger Economy–Strong Pakistan", which was released in 2012.[52]

Addressing to the national via news channels representatives, the PML(N) debated that aside from balancing the energy conservation, ending stagflation as well inflation, and resolving the issues relating to counter-terrorism and national security, its quick economic recovery programmes is also aimed to increase the expenditure on education, health, food security, and "non-pension" social security from the annual GDP by 2018, as part of the policy measurement programmes.[53]

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf[edit]

Main article: Third Way

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is a conservative and welfarist political party a mainstream political programme of supporting the "Third Way" and "welfarism".[54]

In the midst of election campaign, the PTI's chairman, Imran Khan, called for an inter-party elections for the leadership of the PTI. Many renowned individuals were defeated in the intra-party elections, such as Arif Alvi who was replaced by Pervez Khattak as secretary-general and Ejaz Chaudhary who defeated Ahsan Rasheed. Imran informed the media that no-one from his party will be eligible to hold the post of the party chairman for more than two terms. Motives behind this inter-party elections were to will ultimately finish off the "dynasty-type, family limited companies politics" from the country, as Imran Khan maintained.[55]

The PTI rigorously campaigned on social awareness, social reforms, telecommunication, and the expansion of the e-government in all over the country.[18] Other main points of PTI's campaign was to end the role of country in the War on Terrorism and to regulate private schools' fees structure with the quality of education they provide.[18] The PTI targeted the left-wing policies of PPP and the corruption that took place in state-owned enterprises after underwent through the nationalisation programme, started in 2008 by the PPP.[18]

During a campaign rally in Lahore, Imran fell 14 ft as he was stepping off an improvised forklift. He was seen to be bleeding and unconscious with a gash on his head. He was then taken to Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital

Results of the 2013 Pakistani General Election

  Pakistan Muslim League (N)

  Pakistan Peoples Party

  Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf

  Muttahida Qaumi Movement

  Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam

  Pakistan Muslim League (F)

  Pakhtun-khwa Milli Awami Party

  Jamaat-e-Islami

  National Peoples Party

  Pakistan Muslim League (Q)

  Qaumi Watan Party

  All Pakistan Muslim League

  National Party (Pakistan)

  Balochistan National Party

  Awami Jamhuri Ittehad Pakistan

  Awami Muslim League

  Pakistan Muslim League (Z)

  Awami National Party

  Independents

  Repoll ordered

  Postponed/terminated/withheld

Sunday’s by-election on the National Assembly seat vacated by ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Lahore can be interpreted as a win for every major political stakeholder in Pakistan right now.

For the actual winners, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), it was vindication of their stance that masses still support Nawaz despite the Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss him.

Maryam Nawaz, spearheading the campaign on behalf of her mother, said in the aftermath of the unofficial results that massed rejected the “court verdict based on injustice and announced their decision.”

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Elsewhere, the PML-N leaders have regularly suggested that the NA-120 by-poll was actually a verdict against the “forces” behind Nawaz’s ouster – a reference to the all-powerful military establishment, believed to be influential in the decision against the former premier.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), that had orchestrated the campaign for Nawaz’s dismissal can claim victory over the fact that their candidate – Yasmin Rashid – reduced the gap to 14,000, after having lost the 2013 election to Nawaz Sharif by 40,000 votes.

The PTI Vice President Shah Mehmood Qureshi has dubbed giving the PML-N “a tough time in their home constituency” a victory for his party. Reports of Maryam Nawaz being unhappy with the victory margin, further establish PTI’s claims.

Furthermore, the military establishment, that has backed jihadist-backed political groups, would be pleased to see the Milli Muslim League (MML) candidate bag 5,822 votes – over four times that of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP), which had formed the federal government before the PML-N – in little over four weeks of existence.

The MML is the political front of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), a proscribed group that itself fronts as a charity to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), whose leader Hafiz Saeed – believed to be the Mumbai Attack mastermind – is currently under house arrest.

It is differences over “mainstreaming” these militant groups that eventually led to the much publicized Dawn Leaks scandal last year, based on a report that broke the news of a civil-military rift that included a high profile confrontation between the Sharifs and Army leadership over jihadist leaders including Saeed.

The Dawn Leaks scandal is believed to have had a sway in whatever involvement the establishment had in the verdict to oust Nawaz Sharif.

That MML’s Sheikh Yaqoob received votes — despite the party being declared ineligible for the polling by the Election Commission of Pakistan, within little over a month of its creation — shows the potential for political damage that it has ahead of next year’s general election.

Furthermore, with Sheikh Azhar Hussain, the candidate of the radical Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah’s (TLY) – a religious group evolving into a militant outfit based on reverence for Mumtaz Qadri – also winning 7,130 votes, it is evident that the Islamist militant groups are gaining ground.

PPP’s losing candidate Faisal Mir has alleged that these groups “spent heavy” to buy their success, while PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah, Punjab’s current law minister, claims that it is the vote gain of these parties that has resulted in the difference in PML-N’s votes.

Furthermore, the PML-N’s claims of mysterious abductions of party workers ahead of Sunday’s polling, is further meant to establish the role of the ‘forces’ and how much the ruling party had to overcome in order to win the by-election.

And so, with all power players gaining something from NA-120 results, in the hub of Lahore, the capital of Punjab – which is the center of gravity as far as Pakistani politics is concerned – all stakeholders would be optimistic ahead of 2018 elections.

The PTI will likely continue selling the “narrowing margin” narrative over the next nine months or so, hoping that unlike 2013, a large chunk of the closely contested constituencies in Punjab swing their way. That a constituency which has been the hub of PML-N, and had the Sharif family contesting itself, was a 7,500 vote swing away could convince many borderline, undecided, or even first time voters to go the PTI’s way.

Meanwhile, the PML-N, has successfully cashed in on the victimhood card and will continue to claim that it is single-handedly dealing with multiple actors, while continuing to underplay the reality that it is the ruling party both federally and in Punjab.

For the establishment, denting the PML-N vote bank – something the ruling party’s leaders are conceding themselves – in a month could give them cause for greater ambitions. However, keeping the ruling party – which earlier this year might’ve been aiming for an overwhelming electoral majority next year – on the edge of the seat, is mission accomplished already.

Should the NA-120 results extrapolate into the final general elections count – with the PTI increasing its Parliamentary representation, the PML-N bagging the majority, and the Islamist groups, perhaps as a unified front, getting a significant share as well – all concerned parties – even if not individuals, might be pleased with the outcome next year.

A slightly dented PML-N would continue to rule Pakistan, the military would be able to further clip the civilian government’s wings on diplomatic and security matters, and the PTI will further increase its influence as the sole political challenger.

That, right now, is the status quo in Pakistan.

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