- Imran Khan concedes defeat, tells party members ‘it’s time for introspection’
- Ruling party ‘pleasantly surprised’ as PML-N’s Iqbal Shah wins NA-154 Lodhran by-polls by a huge margin of more than 27,000 votes by defeating Ali Tareen Khan of PTI
- Shehbaz Sharif says PML-N wasn’t expecting this victory
LAHORE: According to unofficial results accounted late Monday night, PML-N’s Iqbal Shah defeated PTI’s Ali Tareen Khan with a huge margin of 27,000 votes in the hotly contested Lodhran NA-154 by-polls, providing a sliver of hope to the PML-N for the General Elections 2018 and dampening PTI’s spirits who have been claiming to win emphatically come GE 2018.
Unofficial results for NA-154 Lodhran by-polls started pouring soon after the counting started after the polling ended at 5 pm on Monday.
According to the unofficial results of 338 polling stations, the PML-N candidate had a lead of 116,000 votes while the PTI candidate lagged behind with nearly 91,000 votes.
In addition to the candidates of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), PML-N and PTI, another seven candidates also contested the by-polls as independents.
The polling started in 338 polling stations at 8 am in the morning and was conducted under the watchful eyes of army personnel in all the polling stations of the constituency.
The government had deployed 4,000 security personnel in the constituency to avoid any unforeseen development and to ensure free and fair conduct during the by-polls.
Speaking about the security arrangements, former PTI general secretary Jahangir Khan Tareen said that he was satisfied with the arrangements and would accept the results regardless of who wins. With the presence of army personnel at the polling stations, he said that there was no possibility of rigging.
The seat fell vacant after Jahangir was disqualified by the Supreme Court (SC) as per the Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution after it concluded that he was not honest and trustworthy.
Following his disqualification, PTI announced that Jahangir’s son Ali Khan Tareen would be the party’s candidate for NA-154 by-poll.
It merits mention here that according to the figures shared by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the total number of voters in the constituency was 431,002. Out of these, 236,496 were men and 194,506 were women.
As the voting activities for the day concluded in NA-154, officials observed that the by-election remained peaceful and no untoward incident was reported from any polling station in the constituency.
After unofficial results were announced, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif congratulated the party candidate for scoring a huge victory in the constituency. The people have proven beyond doubt that they support the policies and leadership of PML-N, he added. CM Shehbaz also said that his party was not expecting an easy victory without putting in much effort into electioneering.
Talking over the phone, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif congratulated Punjab chief minister on the party’s victory in the NA-154 by-election.
The news of PML-N’s unofficial victory also reached PTI Chairman Imran Khan who said that every setback provided an opportunity to learn from one’s mistakes.
Khan said in a tweet, “For all Insafians who are feeling dejected after NA-154 result, every setback is an opportunity to analyse one’s mistakes, correct them & come back stronger. Successful people, institutions & nations learn from their failures.”
The PTI chief also tried to raise the morale of his supporters by tweeting: “Those who get demoralised can never achieve their potential. In my decades of political struggle for Insaf I have never been demoralised but have come back stronger after confronting adversities. The 2018 election is ours inshaAllah.”
Meanwhile, Maryam Nawaz, daughter of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said on social media that all conspiracies against her father have been turned into his strength by God.
Reham Khan, former wife of Imran Khan, took a jibe at PTI for losing the by-election.
Reham said in a tweet: “A clear indication that a cheaper copy of status quo is rejected.
There is no opposition ins Pakistani politics atm. Alarming situation for dreamers”
In another tweet, she said: “Sunna hai Pir jeet gaya?”
In yet another tweet, Reham said: “Aaj tu chup ho jao. Apni UC jo na jeet sakay. Ghuroor kis baat ka?” [(Apparently addressing PTI leaders), Hold your horses, at least today. He who failed to win even the election for UC should not be this arrogant.]