Post Panamagate Pakistan: Ruling party wins key by-elections

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Pakistan's ruling party wins key by elections

By Muhamamd Luqman
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s wife Kulsoom Nawaz has won a closely contested by-election in eastern city of Lahore, considered to be the seen as a litmus test of the ruling PML-N party’s popularity after the ouster of former premier’s dismissal in July.
Kulsoom Nawaz managed to attain 61,254 votes, while her competitor, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s Yasmin Rashid attained 47,066 votes.
Kulsoom was contesting the seat vacated by Nawaz Sharif after his dismissal by the country’s Supreme Court in July over an omission in his parliamentary wealth declarations.
Maryam Nawaz, her daughter spearheaded the campaign after Kalsoom Nawaz went to London for the treatment of her recently diagnosed lymphoma.
Nawaz Sharif and three of his children, including Maryam, are currently facing a corruption investigation and trial by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), country’s anti-graft watchdog, on the orders of the Supreme Court.
Delivering a victory speech, Maryam Nawaz congratulated her party’s workers on the win.
“Today, you have not only fought against those who are visible in the battlefield, but also against those who are invisible,” she said.
She said the by-poll result represented a rejection of the Supreme Court’s decision by voters.
“The people have given their verdict on the verdict today,” she told a roaring crowd of hundreds gathered at the Sharif residence in Lahore.
The constituency, home to almost half a million of Lahore’s 11 million residents, is deep in the heart of the old city, and is considered a Sharif stronghold. His party has not lost the seat since it began contesting elections in 1985.
The by-elections have also exposed the real popularity level of political parties in Lahore and even Pakistan. Ruling party’s share in total polled votes in the constituency came down to 49 percent from 2013’s general elections 61 percent. Pakistan’s Tehrik-e-Insaaf’s share rose to 37 percent from previous level of 34 percent. Pakistan People’s Party and Jamaat-e-Islami were the major losers as their share drastically fell to 1.7 percent and 0.47 percent respectively.
The newly formed religio-political parties Millat Muslim League and Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah were able to bag more than 5000 votes each, badly denting the popularity of Pakistan Muslim League (N).
(This is developing story)

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