With the conclusion of much awaited by-elections in ousted PM Sharif’s NA-120 constituency, Kulsoom Nawaz, the ex PM’s wife, stood victorious with a margin of over 14000 votes. As per latest results, Mrs. Nawaz got 61,745 votes, whereas Dr. Yasmeen Rashid, her competitor from the PTI, got 47099 votes.
Even though the ruling party rightly claimed victory, in hindsight, the PML N lost more than 30,000 (91,666 in 2013) votes whereas PTI lost a marginal 5000 (52,321 in 2013). Another sign concern for the ruling party was only 20% of the total registered voters voted for Kulsoom Nawaz amid a very low voter turnout. In total, the PML N lost 8% of votes, whereas the PTI gained 8% votes.
The election campaign also saw a number of allegations from the opposition PTI against alleged voter fraud and pre-poll rigging, raising doubts over the role of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). On the other hand, the ruling party, initially witnessing a temporary lead by Dr Rashid, started a campaign of its own on the social media accusing ‘clandestine’ agencies of trying to manipulate election results and arresting its party leaders.
Both the major parties had pitched their candidates for this election as pro or anti Supreme Court and its Panama verdict against the ousted Prime Minister. Yet, the poll results indicate that neither of the two parties could claim that their narrative was properly sold among the voters. Below are some of the prominent tweets from Pakistan’s twitterati: