Pakistan: Imran Khan's party PTI wins Punjab assembly bypolls
Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) made a comeback in the crucial Punjab assembly bypolls on Sunday. It came as a major setback to PM Shehbaz Sharif whose son Hamza Shehbaz will now lose the Punjab chief minister's post. Election for the chief minister will be held on Friday. PTI won 16 out of the 20 seats in the bypolls.
- Khan was ousted as the prime minister of Pakistan in April after losing a no-confidence vote on his leadership.
- Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) leader Shehbaz Sharif became the PM, thereafter.
- The government was formed in a coalition with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).
- With this massive win in the politically crucial Punjab, Khan has demanded fresh general elections in Pakistan.
The CM election will be held on the Supreme Court's order. PTI-PMLQ joint candidate Chaudhary Parvez Elahi is likely to be the new chief minister of Punjab. The poll was called after the election commission disqualified 20 PTI members for switching parties. Sharif's daughter Maryam Nawaz was leading the campaign and said her party accepts defeat as "the decision by masses against them."
PTI was the ruling party in Punjab until April when the then-Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar resigned following the federal parliament taking up a no-confidence against Khan. The PTI's nominee for the CM's position was defeated as some party members cross-voted for the PML-N's candidate instead. The election commission then disqualified 20 PTI members for illegally voting against the party's directive.
The 20 constituencies of the Punjab Assembly where the by-elections were held, included polling stations PP-7 Rawalpindi, PP-83 Khushab, PP-90 Bhakkar, PP-97 Faisalabad; PP-125, PP-127 Jhang, PP-140 Sheikhupura, PP-158, 167,168,170 Lahore; PP-167, Lahore, PP-202 Sahiwa; PP-217 Multan, PP-224 Lodhran, PP-228 Lodhran, PP-237 Bahawalnagar, PP-272,273 Muzaffargarh, PP-282 Layyah, and PP-288 Dera Ghazi Khan. Meanwhile, the current strength of the Punjab Assembly stands at 349 members.