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December 25, 2012

Winning margin on 90 of 272 NA seats is 10,000 votes or less


December 25, 2012

LAHORE: Now that the countdown to the 2012 general elections in Pakistan is about to begin, if it hasn’t actually begun yet, the street strength displayed by both Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri of late,might certainly send some butterflies down the tummies of the leaders of both Pakistan People’s Party and the PMLN, because of the 272 National Assembly general seats in the country, the winning margin in over 90 constituencies currently stands at just 10,000 votes or even less. In other words, the winning margin is 10,000 votes has been registered in around 33 per cent of the 272 National Assembly constituencies in the country since the 2008 polls and the byelections that have followed since then, reveals a fresh research conducted by “The News International” by taking the results of the February 18, 2008 polls, August 10, 2010 by-polls, July 2012 andDecember 2012 byelections into account. With MQM having recently supportedDr TahirulQadri by attending and praising his mammoth rally at LahoreMinar-e-Pakistan, which also saw city’s worst-ever traffic jamthat continued from Sunday evening till Monday morning as was witnessed by this correspondent while being stuck-up in thismuddle for eight hours, it remains to be seen which political party takes advantage of these very small victorymargins of PPP and PML-N etc since February 2008. However, one thing is evident that any ‘third political force’ in the country has an ideal platform set for it to upset results of the forthcoming polling exercise and prove itsmettle. While the ruling PPP regime and its allies might find it an uphill task to emerge as winners in the next elections due to both incumbency factor and the huge financial scams that have surfaced right under their nose since March 2008 and the Supreme Court verdicts going against them, Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N is facing the growing might of Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaaf in Punjab. In Imran Khan’s case, he has pinned high hopes on the young voters

who will be voting for the first time in 2012, if any disasters do not pave way for the postponement of this muchawaited ballot exercise. Similarly, Shahbaz Sharif might be feeling confident as his Laptop distribution scheme has targeted the vote bank, which is being widely claimed by Imran Khan to be on his side. A little more of Dr Tahirul Qadri and his likely political alliances with religious entities etc in coming weeks will make the picture clearer. Same goes for Imran, who might well join hands with smaller or regional political forces throughout the country to garner further strength. Though the 272 general seats, on which direct elections were held in February 2008, also include asmany as 12 FederallyAdministered Tribal Areas (Fata) seats, starting fromNA-36 to NA- 47, this research has not taken into account the six Fata seats (NA-36,NA-40,NA-41,NA-43,NA- 44 and NA-46), because in all these constituencies, the total votes secured by thewinning candidateswere less than the criteria of 10,000 votes. Similarly, in NA- 262 (Qillah Abdullah, Balochistant), Haji Rozuddin ofMuttahida Majlis-e-Amal hadwon by getting 4,362 votes only. Going through the 2008 polling outcome, one finds that President Asif Zardari-led PPP and its current allies in PML-Q, MQM, ANP and JUI-F (part of MMA at the time of the 2008 election) had narrowly managed to save blushes on nearly 60 of the under review90 odd seats,where the winning margin was 10,000 votes or less.

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