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.