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Imran's party suffers setback in bypolls

Imrans party suffers setback in bypolls

In a setback to Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Opposition alliance led by deposed Premier Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N gained five more parliamentary seats in the bypolls, reducing the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party’s margin in delicately balanced National Assembly.

Elections were held on Sunday in nine National Assembly constituencies in Punjab and one each in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and 24 provincial assemblies seats, including 11 in Punjab, nine in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, two each in Sindh and Balochistan.

Most of the seats where by-polls were held had been vacated by those elected on more than one seat in the July 25 general elections, including Prime Minister Khan who won in all the five NA constituencies he had contested.

Khan’s party lost two seats vacated by him. His seat in Lahore (NA-131) was won by former railways minister and a firebrand PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique.

In Bannu, Zahid Akram Durrani of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) defeated the PTI candidate Naseem Ali Shah.

Former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who had lost the July 25 elections from two constituencies, easily defeated PTI’s Ghulam Mohiuddin Dewan in NA-124 Lahore in an almost one-sided contest.

The PML-N and the PTI won four seats each in the National Assembly whereas Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid won two seats and MMA one seat, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said.

Now the Opposition numbers have increased by five more seats in the National Assembly, while the ruling alliance secured six more seats.

The outcome of the byelection will not affect the federal or provincial governments but help reinvigorate the Opposition parties.

The PTI won 11 seats of the provincial assemblies while the PML-N won seven. The Pakistan People’s Party , led by Asif Ali Zardari, and Awami National Party won two each and independents were elected on two seats.

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