ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s clean sweep in Tuesday’s by-elections in Punjab dampened hopes that the alliance between the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and PML-Q will damage it irreparably by performing much better than 2008.
A close look at the final unofficial results of the by-polls indicates that the PML-N votes considerably went up compared to its tally of the last general elections. On the contrary, the PPP-PML-Q combine was unable to produce electoral dividends for being partners as against wide expectations.
The Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) too failed to make an impact in the Sahiwal where Rai Hassan, who joined it some back, contested NA-162 as independent candidate, but bagged almost the same number of votes that he had secured in 2008. However, Zahid Iqbal, who had fought the previous parliamentary polls on the PPP ticket, now got 5,000 more votes as PML-N nominee.
The by-election to NA-107 Gujrat was extremely important for the mere fact that the PML-Q’s top bosses, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, hail from this district. PML-N nominee Hanif Malik bagged massive votes, 106,658, which was a record in the by-elections. PML-Q candidate Rehman Naseer, backed by the PPP, got 76,200 votes. In 2008, PML-N’s Jamil Malik had clinched 75,205 votes, Rehman Naseer 69,101 and PPP’s Raja Masood 14,948.
Even if the votes of PPP and PML-Q which they got in 2008 are put together, they are less than what the PML-N contestant has now pocketed.
In the by-poll to the Punjab Assembly seat PP-226 Sahiwal, Chaudhry Jamshaid (14,209), son of PTI leader Saeed Gujjar, contested as independent and was defeated with a big margin by PML-N’s Mohammad Hanif (42,294 votes). Also routed was PPP-PML-Q coalition’s nominee Asim Iqbal (35,369 votes).
The PPP-PML-Q alliance can take pride in winning the only seat, PP-133 Narowal, in Punjab.
In the by-election to PP-92 Gujranwala, PML-N’s Nawaz Chohan clinched 36,419 votes and PPP-PML-Q Lala Asad 16,988 votes. In 2008, Nawaz Chohan’s close relative Ashraf, also a PML-N candidate, had got 24,632 votes while PPP’s Lala Shakeel 23,892 votes. This time, Chohans’ votes went up while his rival coalition’s tally came down.