News Analysis |
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has defeated its main rivals in the by-election on a critical NA-04 seat of Peshawar. PTI retained its National Assembly seat after its candidate Arbab Amir Ayub dominated the polls by a significant margin on Thursday.
Based on the unofficial results, PTI’s candidate secured an impressive 45,631 votes. His primary competitors were Khushdil Khan of Awami National Party (ANP) and PMLN’s Nasir Khan Musazai both of whom obtained 25,267 votes 25,143 votes respectively.
Despite Bilawal’s fiery address at the large PPP rally held in Badaber, its candidate, Asad Gulzar managed to secure only 12,014 votes. The newly formed Tehrik-e-Labaik’s Dr. Muhammad Shafique Aminee managed to surprise with 8994 votes which were astonishingly higher than the Jamaat-e-Islami’s candidate Wasal Farooq who secured 7,021 votes.
Political commentators and analysts believed it to be a litmus test for the popularity of the PTI government in KP after more than four years in power.
The seat was made vacant after the demise of PTI’s MNA Gulzar Khan, the father of PPP candidate Asad Gulzar.
The turnout of 33.58 percent for the by-election was modestly low as compared to the 40.34 percent turnout in 2013 general elections.
Read More: Peshawar: Battle for NA-4 underway
Before, the election, ECP had issued a statement which stated that it had established 269 polling stations in the constituency comprising of the 397,952 voters including 235,127 men and 162,825 women voters. It declared the 182 polling stations highly sensitive and 87 as sensitive.
The ECP had deployed 7000 law enforcement officers and 1700 army personnel in the constituency ensuring the tight security arrangements.
Political commentators and analysts believed it to be a litmus test for the popularity of the PTI government in KP after more than four years in power. KPK voters are renowned for throwing out incumbent power holders or those they perceive as not having performed.
The resounding victory of PTI in the NA-4 vote reaffirmed the party’s position as the dominating political force in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK).
Interestingly, specific segments of the electronic and print media are running headlines citing a decline in PTI’s votes in the constituency and claiming this to be an indicator of PTI’s growing unpopularity.
This may seem true on the surface because PTI’s candidate in 2013, the late Gulzar Khan, secured 55,134 votes in 2013 general election which is 20.83% higher than the votes obtained by the victorious Arbab Amir Ayub.
However, the loss in votes can be attributed to a lower turnout plus the changing of candidates. Gulzar Khan’s son Asad Gulzar standing as the PPP candidate secured only 12,014 which is only marginally different from the votes secured by PPP candidate in 2013. But, interestingly, the winning candidate’s brother Arbab Ayub only secured 15,795 votes in 2013 on ANP ticket, While, in 2008 elections, his late brother Arbab Muhammed Zahir Khan won the same seat by securing 31,598 votes.
Arbab Amir Ayub father, the late Senator Noor Mohammed Khan was a founding member of the All India Muslim League, and his elder brother Arbab Zahir Khan contested form this seat in 1990, 1993, and 1997 for ANP.
The massive decline (358.91%) in the votes secured by Gulzar family and the surge in the votes of Arbab family (249.06%) shows that the PTI vote bank has remained intact.
Since ANP managed to grab a decent score of 25,267, therefore, this decline in votes for PTI is not a matter of concern. Arbab Amir’s massive surge in popularity can only be attributed to him holding PTI’s ticket.
The massive decline (358.91%) in the votes secured by Gulzar family and the surge in the votes of Arbab family (249.06%) shows that the PTI vote bank has remained intact. Nevertheless, ANP had seen improvement in its dismissal performance in 2013, when it endured the plunge of -100.05% from 2008. However, it has managed to boost its votes by 59.97%.
The dynamics of KP politics have always centered around the ruthlessness of the voters when it comes to voting on performance. This crucial victory highlights the satisfaction of Peshawar with PTI’s performance in the region. However, the rise of ANP demonstrates the hard work of ANP to rebuild party’s image post-2013 loss fiasco.
Over the course of last four year, PTI’s has built its image as a party transforming the culture and structural elements of government institutions in the province. PTI can take credit for the following prominent achievements:
- Revolutionizing the police by making it independent and depoliticized.
- Patwari System improved through the introduction of an electronic property database.
- E-Citizens Grievance Redressal System has upgraded the justice system.
- Health system has significantly improved by ensuring doctors attendance.
- Marked improvement in the education sector by introducing far-reaching reforms including teacher presence at schools where they used to take their salaries.
- The success of Billion Tree Tsunami recognized by World Economic Forum and many renowned international institutions.
This victory confirms the Khan’s claims because, when it comes to KP, elections are nothing short of the litmus test for the provincial government’s performance. Peshawar has proclaimed its approval of PTI’s performance of the last four years loud and clear.