The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has dominated the high-stakes Punjab by-elections by winning 15 out of the 20 vacant Punjab Assembly seats, claiming a victory in what had till then been a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) stronghold.
The 20 seats had become vacant after the Supreme Court had ruled that the votes of the dissident PTI MPAs who had voted for Hamza Shahbaz as Chief Minister of Punjab could not be counted, as they had been de-seated by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Unofficial results show that PTI won five seats in central Punjab, five in north and as many in south Punjab. The party lose one seat in Lahore, three in south Punjab and one in north in the by-elections that were held in 14 districts of the province.
Meanwhile, the ruling party PML-N, only managed to win four seats, as it had decided to let the dissident PTI members contest the elections as PML-N candidates, except for in Lahore, where PTI defector Aleem Khan had decided against taking part.
This changes the composition of the Punjab Assembly and puts PTI in the majority with 178 seats as compared to PML-N’s 167. Taking into consideration their allies, PTI still remains in the lead, as its main ally PML-Q has 10 seats, whereas PML-N’s co-member of the PDM alliance, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has only 7 seats in the provincial assembly.
The PTI’s winning candidates and their constituencies include Hassan Malik (PP-83, Khushab-II); Irfan Ullah Khan Niazi (PP-90, Bhakkar-II); Ali Afzal Sahi (PP-97, Faisalabad-I); Mian Muhammad Azam (PP-125, Jhang-II); Mehr Muhammad Nawaz (PP-127, Jhang-IV); Khurram Shehzad Virk (PP-140, Sheikhupura-VI); Mian Muhammad Akram Usman (PP-158, Lahore-XV); Shabbir Ahmad Gujjar (PP-167, Lahore-XXIV); Malik Zaheer Abbas Khokhar (PP-170, Lahore-XXVI); Muhammad Ghulam Sarwar (PP-202, Sahiwal-VII); Makhdoom Zain Hussain Qureshi (PP-217, Multan-VII); Muhammad Aamir Iqbal Shah (PP-224, Lodhran-I) and Muhammad Moazzam Ali Khan (PP-272, Muzaffargarh-V).
The winning PML-N candidates are Raja Saghir Ahmed (PP-07, Rawalpindi-II); Malik Asad Ali Khokhar (PP-168, Lahore-XXV); Fida Hussain (PP-237, Bahawalnagar-I) and Muhammad Sibtain Raza (PP-273, Muzaffargarh-VI).
The one independent candidate who secured a seat was Syed Muhammad Rafiuddin Bukhari, from PP-228 (Lodhran-V) constituency.