The NA-154 upset

The results of NA-154 by-election was as unexpected for political pundit as it was upsetting for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) whose candidate was considered favorite to win the family seat with minor competition. As the seat had become vacant due to in court-mandated ouster of PTI central leader Jahangir Tareen and his son Ali Tareen was running to reclaim the seat. The expected result was so much in favor of PTI that the ruling PML-N did not carry out an active election campaign in this constituency as compared to the fully-loaded campaign run by PTI. It was widely thought that Ali Tareen would win easily re-enacting the events of NA-120 where Kulsoom Nawaz comfortably won the seat after her husband Nawaz Sharif had suffered the same fate as elder Tareen. But the public proved once again that they still possess the capacity to surprise the political experts and candidates alike.

Now coming to the big question, why did PTI lose on the home turf and that too with a massive lead of 27,000 votes and that too in a by-election? This upset has brought lessons for all major stakeholders in the political system of the country If the result of this election is to be taken as a foreshadowing of coming general elections. For PML-N, it means that Nawaz Sharif’s rallying cry of “Mujhe Kio Nikala?” is working among the masses and they can proceed similarly till the general elections this year. For PTI, this upset is wakeup call that they immediately need to take stock revise their course of action. The charismatic Imran Khan who led PTI to unprecedented success in 2013 is nowhere to be seen and the voter is disappointed that the “change” that was promised has not been delivered. Tehreek Labbayk backed candidate got the third place continuing the trend of religious vote gathering under their banner.

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Mian Bilal