Pakistan’s Opposition today claimed to have gained a moral victory despite losing the crucial by- election in Lahore to ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s ailing wife, saying the slim margin of PML-N’s win is in fact a defeat for the ruling party.
The court on Friday also rejected review petitions from Sharif’s two sons, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, according to Salman Akram Raja, a senior leader of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League party.
Nearby, a few PML-N workers rode by on motorcycles, raising the party’s slogan, referencing their electoral symbol of a lion: “Look who’s come, it’s the lion, it’s the lion!”
Whereas Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) won six national assembly and nine provincial assembly seats followed by Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarian (PPPP) which won five national assembly and 12 provincial assembly seats from May 2013 to August 2017.
Federal Railways Minister Saad Rafique told a press conference after the result that the people had rejected disqualification of Sharif and given verdict in his favour.
“I am satisfied by the polling, particularly the presence of army at the polling stations”, Rashid said after visiting a polling station for women in the electorate located within Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city. Sharif also launched his daughter to be his unofficial political strategist and spokesperson while delaying the announcement of the name of the candidate who would contest the by-election.
Sharif’s supporters celebrated in the streets Sunday night, dancing to drums and songs blaring from loudspeakers and shouting slogans while the Lahore sky was lit by fireworks.
PPP’s candidate Faisal Mir attained 1414 votes, Milli Muslim League’s supported candidate Yaqoob Sheikh received 5,822 votes and Jamat e Islami’s Ziauddin Ansari received 592 votes.
The election was also significant because of Muhammad Yaqub Sheikh, a United States designated terrorist.
Hafiz Saeed, the founder of JuD, is a U.S. designated terrorist with a $10 million (€8.4 million) bounty on his head. Maryam has hinted media attacks of Sharif and the Supreme Court decision were organized by the powerful military, which has toppled multiple governments since independence 70 years ago.
Meanwhile, Sharif, his wife and many of his close aides were almost silent as they waited out the election thousands of miles away in London.
PAT, on Monday, withdrew its appeal against the LHC decision in the Supreme Court. Pakistan’s current prime minister and foreign minister were also there, en route to a United Nations meeting in NY.
Opposition leader Imran Khan – whose threats of street protests pushed the Supreme Court to launch a probe into Nawaz’s wealth – had sought to build on the success of his anti-graft crusade by making inroads into Sharifs’ power base in Punjab.