LAHORE: The PML-N conceded defeat on Sunday in the crucial Punjab by-elections after the PTI took a lead in the majority of 20 provincial assembly constituencies, which were up for grabs.
As the unofficial results started pouring in, showing the PTI in the lead, the party’s Vice President Maryam Nawaz took to Twitter and said that the defeat should be accepted with an open heart, reported private news channels.
“The PML-N should accept the results of the by-polls with an open heart and concede to the decision of the masses,” Maryam wrote. She added that winning and losing were part of politics, therefore, the party should now focus on its weaknesses, identify them and then overcome them. “God willing, everything will be fine,” she said.
Similarly, speaking to Geo News, PMLN’s senior leader Malik Mohammad Ahmed Khan also accepted that the PTI had received a “landslide victory” in the hotly-contested Punjab by-polls. “I accept that PTI has won and the party wholeheartedly accepts the opinion of the public,” he said.
He further added that everybody can get into the debate of how and what happened, but “apparently the situation right now shows that PTI has won the elections; therefore, we congratulate them and accept our defeat.”
Replying to a question regarding the PML-N’s strategy for the election for the position of Chief Minister Punjab, scheduled to be held on July 22, Khan said: “I spoke to Hamza Shehbaz and he was of the view that people have expressed their choice, so we need to acknowledge it.”
“Last time the situation was different as there were divisions among the party but this time, it is all about the public and now we will assess where we went wrong,” he said, adding he considered these by-polls as snap-elections.
Lamenting that the party had lost three major seats in Lahore, he said that now there was no reason for the party to stick to their electioneering campaign. “This is a difficult situation for us (PMLN) as we have lost elections in Punjab, where we’ve always had a stronghold, and our government in federal is a coalition setup with thin numbers,” he maintained.
Khan further added that when parties consider public opinion, then power becomes secondary and people’s choice becomes the top priority.
Replying to a question regarding the chances of early elections, he accepted that the results showed the PMLN has lost the hold of Punjab, while for the federal government, he refrained from commenting as decisions are taken after consultations with all coalition parties.
“The government of Punjab will now inevitably be formed by the PTI,” he said, adding that all political parties should now strengthen their positions. The MP stated that the party plans go into the next elections under a coordinated strategy, citing the inclusion of PTI dissidents into the party as one of the major reasons behind our defeat.
Meanwhile, PMLN candidate Salman Naeem demonstrated sportsman spirit and congratulated PTI candidate Zain Hussein Qureshi, who won PP-217 Multan–VII by-poll, and shook hands with him.
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