Peshawar  by-polls

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A peep into what lies ahead in 2018

Except for a few incidents of aerial firing the polling in NA-4  was fairly peaceful. The PTI bagged the seat with a convincing  margin of over  20,000 votes leaving ANP and PMLN far behind.  The PTI however needs to be reminded that the number of voters who expressed  dissatisfaction over its performance by supporting  the opposition parties  exceeded  those who voted for it.  It needs to further improve its performance to win  the 2018 elections in KP.

After 1988, the ANP was a junior partner in successive PPP and PMLN administrations and  led a coalition government in 2008. It was however badly routed in 2013 after losing a number of leaders and activists in terror attacks .The party has finally come in from the cold gaining a distant second position. That the  PMLN ranked third despite the support of JUIF reflects the dire straits where it has landed  itself in the province. The PPP  was relegated to the fourth position.  This shows that Asif Zardari’s wheeling and dealing in KP failed to  shore up  the party.  A much more humiliating rebuff was delivered by the voters to Jamaat-e-Islami  which ranked sixth, after Tehrik-e-Labbaik Pakistan(TLP),  getting less that 8 thousand votes. The opportunism shown by JI which tried  to hijack the TLP’s agenda did not help it.

The ECP once again put to test  the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in selected booths  of the constituency with good results. Attempts should be made to hold the 2018 elections with the help of the EVMs to reduce the election costs and save time in voting and  preparing of results.

The NA-4 by-polls were not devoid of blemishes.  Women turn out was significantly low.  There were violations of the  ECP’s code of conduct including wall chalking and  larger sized banners and posters by certain parties and  provision of transport to voters by all major candidates .  That the  ECP failed to arrest the violations during polls in a single constituency raises questions about its capacity to enforce code of conduct during   countrywide elections  in 2018.