PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) suffered a crushing defeat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa even though it had expectations of winning a good number of assembly seats.
The party’s central president Shahbaz Sharif and provincial president Amir Muqam lost the election to rivals from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in Swat district. They were contesting from NA-3 and NA-2, respectively. The party had portrayed Shahbaz Sharif as the next prime minister and tried to attract voters by reminding that he will develop Swat as he did in case of Lahore.
Amir Muqam also lost the contest on two provincial assembly seats, PK-2 and PK-4 in Swat, and another national assembly seat from Peshawar, NA-29. He was publicised as the next chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but the voters didn’t agree with the assessment.
The PML-N even lost election in its stronghold of Hazara division except for Mansehra district and Amir Muqam’s home constituency in Shangla. It couldn’t win other seats that the party was expecting.
The party nominee Mohammad Sajjad, the elder brother of retired Captain Mohammad Safdar, the son-in-law of former prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, managed to defeat his closest rival and candidate of PTI Zargul Khan on NA-14 Mansehra-cum-Torghar.
The PML-N also secured three provincial assembly seats out of the five provincial assembly constituencies in its stronghold Mansehra district.
The PML-N dissident and former MPA Saleh Mohammad Khan, who was backed by the PTI, defeated the party candidate Sardar Shahjehan Yousuf, son of former federal minister Sardar Mohammad Yousaf.
On PK-30, the PML-N contender, former MPA Mian Ziaur Rehman secured 29,468 votes and was unofficially declared the winner. The former provincial minister from the PPP, Syed Ahmad Hussain Shah, lost narrowly. He secured 29,214 votes.
On PK-32, Naeem Sakhi of the PML-N, according to unofficial results, was elected MPA by securing 22,768 votes. On PK-34, the former federal minister Sardar Mohammad Yousuf was declared successful.
On PK-55 in Takhtbhai, in Mardan district, PML-N candidate and ex-MPA Jamshed Khan Mohmand defeated his rivals including PTI’s Adil Nawaz Khan and MMA, ANP and PPP nominees to become the MPA.
In the 2013 general election, the PML-N had emerged the second largest party in the KP Assembly with 17 seats despite the fact that many political parties had suffered a humiliating defeat in that election due to the PTI wave.
Although the PML-N had pockets of support in different parts of the province, Hazara was considered its stronghold from where many heavyweights returned to the national and provincial assemblies in the past.
However, like other old political forces of the country, the PML-N also could not sustain the PTI tsunami and even lost some traditional constituencies to the PTI’s comparatively new faces. It even failed to retain its old seats in Hazara, Peshawar, Shangla and Swabi where it had sufficient vote bank in the past.
Interestingly, the party was expecting 22 to 25 provincial assembly seats and a dozen National Assembly seats.