~Many 'upsets' in largest by-polls~

~Many ‘upsets’ in largest by-polls~

The voting in 41 constituencies of National and provincial assemblies concluded amid low turnout as compared to general election.

The by-election proved a nightmare for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) as the party suffered a setback on two important constituencies – NA-1 Peshawar and NA-71 Mianwali – which were won by its chairman Imran Khan in the general election.

The ANP and PML-N routed the PTI badly in Peshawar and Mianwali by winning the seats there, respectively.

The PML-N also suffered a setback in DG Khan and Rajanpur where PTI candidates won the provincial constituencies of Punjab, which were vacated by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and PML-N’s stalwart Sardar Zaulfiqar Khan Khosa after general elections.

The ANP, wiped out in May 11 polls, inflicted a big defeat on PTI when its candidate Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour defeated PTI’s Gul Badshah Khan. Bilour was knocked out by Imran Khan by a huge margin in the general election in May this year.

The PPP, which performed poorly in Punjab during general election, made inroads again in the province as it won a key National Assembly constituency in Muzaffargarh – its candidate Noor Rabbani Khar defeated Javed Dasti, the brother of MNA Jamshed Dasti.

Another key achievement for the PPP came from Okara when Jahangir Watto, the son of PPP Punjab President Manzoor Wattoo, grabbed the provincial assembly seat, won by PML-N in the general election.

For the PTI, the two prized seats came in the shape of provincial assembly seats in DG Khan and Rajanpur where its candidates snatched the seats from the PML-N. However, the loss of Mianwali seat to the PML-N came as a setback for the PTI as it was the home constituency of Imran Khan.

The PML-N maintained its grip in Punjab by winning five National Assembly seats in Lahore, Mianwali, Hafizabad, Faisalabad and Sargodha. The party also emerged victorious on most of provincial seats in Punjab.

The PPP, apart from clinching the Muzaffargarh seat, also won two National Assembly seats in Sindh.

The PPP’s Shazia Marri secured a victory over Khuda Bux Dars of PML-F.

The PPP also grabbed the National Assembly seat in Thata where its candidate Shamsun Nisa defeated the PML-N’s Riaz Hussain Sherazi. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement retained its hold on Karachi and the city area of Mirpurkhas where its candidates defeated the rival candidates comprehensively. Ali Arshad of the MQM also secured an easy victory over his rivals in NA-254.

In Balochistan, the Pakhtunkhwa Awami Milli Party (PkMAP) again grabbed a National Assembly seat, which was vacated by its chief Mahmood Khan Ackakzai after general elections.

In NA-48 constituency of Islamabad, the PTI retained the seat, which was won by Javed Hashmi in the general poll. The PTI’s Asad Umar defeated the PML-N’s Ashraf Gujar in this constituency. For the 15 National Assembly seats on which bye-polls were held, the PML-N won five seats followed by PPP three and PTI two seats. The ANP, PkMAP and MQM won one seat each for the National Assembly. The result of NA-5 and NA-27 were withheld.

Earlier, the voting begun at 8am and concluded at 5pm on Thursday. The Election Commission of Pakistan refused to extend the polling time. However, the voters present in the premises of the polling stations were allowed to cast their votes.

An ECP official said the polling was conducted in an orderly manner and peaceful atmosphere throughout the country as foolproof security arrangements were made.

Army and police contingents had been deployed at polling stations to maintain law and order during elections. Voters turn out in the by-election remained low as compared to general elections. The participation was sluggish right from the onset of polling, showing little interest of general public.

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