Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) party in Pakistan reclaimed a parliamentary seat on Sunday’s election, according to unofficial results of a tight contested by-election which seems to be like a referendum on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s rule after his victory in 2013.
The electoral race was for the NA-122 parliamentary seat in Punjab, the richest province in Pakistan and Sharif’s stronghold, claimed victory against the Opposition party of Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
The NA-122 parliamentary seats became vacant following an election tribunal which declared Sadiq’s victory in favour of the irregularities during the 2013 election.
Unofficial results revealed on media tallies from all polling stations indicated close Sharif ally Ayaz Sadiq’s victory leading with about 4,000 votes over PTI candidate Aleem Khan.
Out of 348,000 registered voters, almost 200,000 people casted their votes. Official result were due to be announce today by the election commission.
Last year, PTI’s leader, Imran Khan, led street protests in the capital city for months complaining about rigging during the 2013 election.
Sharif relied on the military force to crackdown the standoff, which strengthened the military image in foreign and security policy. However, many in the military had opposed Sharif’s election promise to develop good relations with India, the arch-rival of Pakistan.
The PTI party had only won a parliamentary seat until 2013, when the party leader promised to stop corruption and tax evasion by the rich which claimed enough votes to form a government in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the became the third largest party in Pakistan.
A nationwide Gallup poll, conducted this month, revealed that 37 percent of voters liked the PTI while 46 percent favoured the PLMN.
Analysts say external factors have contributed to security and the economy improvements under the Sharif’s administration.
Attacks by militants have fallen around 70 percent this year, partly due to military operations in the northwest and a military crackdown in the southern province of Karachi.
Annual inflation has also fallen to its lowest in a dozen years, mainly due to lower oil prices. The economy is growing faster however, still not fast enough to take new entrants to the job market.
Although the government has failed to crackdown on corruption or improve tax payment from the rich which results in lack of social services like schools and hospitals.