Imran’s 5/5, Hafiz’s Epic Fail: Pak Election’s 7 Big Surprises
Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) emerged as the single largest party in the Pakistan National Assembly with its candidates winning 110 seats amid rival political parties’ claim of “blatant” rigging.
The cricketer-turned-politician's 'victory speech' came even as counting trends showed that the PTI would have to stitch together a coalition to form the government, despite beating its nearest challenger by double its number of seats.
In what is Pakistan's second-ever democratic transition of power, the elections threw up a number of unusual trends with few surprising winner and many sore losers.
1. Imran Khan Gets Five out of Five
‘Im The Dim’ has an impressive record of 24 five-wicket hauls in his cricketing career, but winning five National Assembly seats in Pakistan definitely tops that.
Imran Khan contested the elections from NA-26 (Bannu), NA-53 (Islamabad 2), NA-95 (Mianwali), NA-131 (Lahore) and NA-243 (Karachi). According to Geo TV, the probable prime ministerial candidate won all five.
2. Pakistan Rejects All 265 Candidates From Hafiz Saeed's Party
Pakistani voters outright rejected Lashkar-e-Taiba chief and Mumbai 26/11 attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed, with his party trailing in all the seats it contested.
Saeed, a UN-designated terrorist, is the head of banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), the political wing of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. His political party Milli Muslim League was also denied registration in 2017.
Its 265 candidates then ran the election through the lesser known the Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek, (AAT), one of them being Saeed’s son Hafiz Talha Saeed.
3. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Loses From His Hometown
Former Pakistan prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was among the stalwarts who suffered a shocking defeat in the general elections, Pakistani media reported.
Abbasi, who assumed premiership after the Supreme Court disqualified Nawaz Sharif, had contested from NA-57 parliamentary seat in Rawalpindi, his native constituency of hill resort of Murree, and NA-53 Islamabad, where he lives, as a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate.
But according to the unofficial results, the former premier had lost from both the seats, news agency PTI reported.
The NA-57 is considered as one of the safest seats for the PML-N, from where Abbasi's father had won for the first time in 1985. Abbasi had won this seat in 1990, 1993, 1997, 2008 and 2013 general elections. He had lost only once in 2002.
4. PML-N's Punjab Fort Breached?
Punjab Province, the most populous state in Pakistan, has 139 of the 272 national assembly seats.
Imran Khan-led PTI not only put up a sterling performance in the national assembly elections, but also nearly breached the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)'s citadel, the Punjab Province.
Earier on Thursday, IANS reported eighteen independent candidates in Punjab decided to ally with Imran Khan to form next PTI government.
Both the parties were tied on the second day of counting at 113 seats each out of the 297 general seats in Punjab, according to Pakistan’s Geo TV.
5. Shehbaz Sharif's Mega Debacle
PML-N chief Shehbaz Sharif, who had contested from three parliamentary seats – one each in Karachi, Swat and Lahore – lost to the PTI candidates in Karachi and the NA-3 seat in Swat.
But he was leading from the Lahore seat, according to news reports.
6. PTI's Impressive Gains in Karachi
PTI surprisingly emerged as a major political party in Karachi as it seems to grab 12 National Assembly seats out of 21, The News International reported.
Karachi’s most popular party MQM-P managed to be victorious in six NA seats only.
7. Religious Party TLP Bags First Ever Seat
Newly-emerged religious party, Tehreek Labaik Pakistan (TLP), won the first-ever seat in the General Election 2018, making his way to Sindh Assembly, The News International reported.
TLP emerged out of a protest movement in 2016 against the state's execution of Mumtaz Qadri, a bodyguard of the governor of Punjab province who gunned down his boss in 2011 over the governor’s call to reform Pakistan's blasphemy laws.
Khadim Hussain Rizvi, an Islamic preacher paralysed from the waist down following a road accident, heads the party.
(With inputs from PTI)