The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) created history when it won almost a two-thirds majority in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the election. It is the first time in Pakistan that a political party managed to win in the province in successive elections. Besides the Punjab, it also made phenomenal inroads into Sindh and became the first national level party in Pakistan after decades.
The PTI defeated the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in their strongholds in Karachi. It shows its ability to bridge ethnic and linguistic divisions and unite Pakistan’s urban middle classes, from Peshawar to Karachi in its struggle against corruption, violence and feudal mentality. It is the second largest party in the Sindh Assembly after the PPP. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, it almost eliminated archrival Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) and the Awami National Party (ANP). All major parties and even Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Ameer Sirajul Haq, whose party was a coalition partner with the PTI in the last provincial government, claimed that the PTI had done nothing for the welfare of the people. The election results prove the people rejected their allegations against the PTI and voted it to power again for bringing about change in the police, education and health. It also swept Peshawar on the basis of its performance.
The PTI also managed to make inroads into the Punjab, which has been a home province of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). The party defeated almost all colleagues of ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s cabinet, including former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Saira Afzal, Nisar Ali Khan, Abid Sher Ali and Talal Chaudhry. In fact, only three former ministers survived, Khurram Dastagir, Khawaja Asif and Ahsan Iqbal. However, the PML-N managed to save its hometown, Lahore. The PML-N retained it with 10 National Assembly seats and 22 Punjab Assembly seats. The PTI could bag only four National Assembly and eight Punjab Assembly seats. The PTI is also expected to form the government in the Punjab with the help of its election partner, Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q), and independents. There are also reports of the formation of a forward block in the PML-N, which will make the job easy for the PTI.
The major upset in the Punjab came in Faisalabad, where the PTI won almost all national and provincial assembly seats. The PML-N had swept it in the 2013 polls. A major shock for the PTI came from south Punjab, where it was expected to win with huge majority after almost all electables had joined it ahead of elections. However, the PML-N managed to win a fair share of seats. In fact, it won a number of Punjab Assembly seats in the region where it lost National Assembly seats. It was also shocking for the PTI when its vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi won his National Assembly seat in Multan but lost his Punjab Assembly seat to the PML-N. In fact, it was the only seat that the PTI lost in Multan.
Upsets were also witnessed in many constituencies of Pakistan. PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari lost in layari, Karachi. He could only manage to get third place in the electoral race. It was probably one of the most humiliating defeats the party has faced since its inception and that too in an area that has voted exclusively for the PPP. According to results released by the Election Commission of Pakistan, Bilawal could only get 39,325 votes against PTI’s Shakoor Shad, who won the seat by bagging 52,750 votes. The surprise package was Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan’s Ahmed, who received more votes than Bilawal, ending up with a final tally of 42,345. PML-N candidate Saleem Zia received 19,077 votes. The PPP also lost two provincial assembly seats of Lyari – PS-107, and PS-108. Javed Nagori, who served as a provincial minister in the last PPP government was running for PS-107. He lost the seat to TLP’s Mohammad Younus Soomro. Nagori received 14,390 votes, while Soomro returned with 26,248 votes, according to the ECP. On PS-108, where PPP’s Haji Abdul Majeed Baloch was contesting, the seat went to MMA candidate Abdul Rasheed.
JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman suffered a major shock as he was ousted by rookie candidates of the PTI on two seats in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He contested the election as a candidate of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), but lost on both seats by a large margin. Former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also lost both National Assembly seats. The senior politician and ex- minister lost NA-53 and NA-57 by over 48,000 and 12,000 votes, respectively. ANP leader Ghulam Ahmed Bilour lost to PTI’s Shoukat Ali in NA-31, Peshawar. JI leader Sirajul Haq also suffered a shock defeat in NA-7, Lower Dir, at the hands of PTI’s Muhammad Bashir Khan. Former Interior Minister Nisar Al Khan lost two National Assembly seats but managed to win a Punjab Assembly seat. The ex-minister had not lost any election since 1985. Pakistan Sarzameen Party leader Mustafa Kamal also lost both National Assembly seats. PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, who was contesting polls at four seats, managed to win only in Lahore and lost in Karachi, Dera Ghazi Khan and Swat.
The PPP suffered defeat in Larkana, its hometown. Moazzam Abbasi of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) defeated Nida Khuhro, daughter of PPP Sindh President Nisar Khuhro. Former Sindh education minister Jam Mujtaba Dahar was defeated by PTI’s Shaharyar in Ghotki’s PS 18. Muhammad Mian Soomro of the PTI defeated former PPP minister Aijaz Jakhrani on a National Assembly seat in Jacobabad. PPP’s Malik Asad Sikandar, who has remained undefeated in his whole political career since 1985, was defeated by Dr. Sikandar Shoro in Jamshoro.
MQM leader Dr. Farooq Sattar was defeated by PTI contenders, Amir Liaquat Hussain and Arif Alvi. The victory of Amir Liaquat is considered another major upset for the MQM after the defeat of Ali Raza Abidi at the hands of PTI Chairman Imran Khan in NA-243. The PML-N faced the biggest upset in Karachi as its president Shahbaz Sharif was defeated by PTI’s Faisal Vawda in NA-249. Former finance minister Miftah Ismail was also defeated by PTI’s Ali Haider Zaidi in NA-244, Karachi. PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi lost to PPP’s Nawaz Yousuf Talpur in NA-220, Umerkot. Former Sindh home minister Dr. Zulfiqar Mirza, who was part the GDA, lost in his hometown Badin to PPP’s Ismail Rahu. Three former chief ministers of the province, Ghaus Ali Shah, Liaquat Jatoi and Arbab Ghulam Rahim, lost their traditional seats.
It was also shocking that all conspiracy theories died down after the defeat of former Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan. Many theories were associated with his election symbol “Jeep” when it became popular among independent candidates. The PML-N and many observers believed Nisar and his jeep group would play an important role in the next government, but all proved hearsay. The results of elections were delayed for over eights hours after the Result Transfer System (RTS) of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) crashed. It led to rumours. The PML-N said the delay aimed to produce desired results. PTI sympathizers feared its win could be turned into a defeat or its margin of victory would be narrowed. However, all rumours proved false. Despite some upsets, the results were not shocking for the people of Pakistan.