Friday, 13 September 2013

Bye elections Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa: A counter analysis

by Faheem Wali

An enormous amount of media hype, as usual, was created regarding the recently concluded bye elections/ Despite this the same could not instil even a sizeable level of interest amongst the electorates in most of the constituencies in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.  Barring two provincial assembly seats that got vacant due to unfortunate and brutal assassinations of MPAs Imran Mohmand-PK 27 Mardan and Faridullah-PK 42  Hangu, the rest remained business as usual across the Province.

Having said that,bye elections in KP on most of the constituencies threw up some very interesting results and statistics which kept your average person like me curious for a while. These trends   reflect upon the peculiar mindset of voters regarding their choice of candidates and the anger at lack of initiatives for people by various sitting governments in centre and Province

The most intriguing results came out from the infamous NA 1-Peshawar, where three time federal minister and four time elected member of parliament Ghulam Ahmed Bilour of ANP was pitched against a new comer by the face of Gul Badshah of PTI (Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf) to defend the seat vacated by Imran Khan. Imran Khan in the general election had inflicted a humiliating defeat upon the ANP stalwart. Bilour ended up winning the seat quite easily in the end by a margin of 5000 votes,apparently due to multiple factors,including non delivery on the  governance side by the PTI government, intra party rifts within PTI, lack of fame of their candidate and  the effects of local alliances former by the Bilours.

The shock of the victory led most of the critics and some observers to predict the fall of PTI even within 90 days of their taking power and the  massive turnout in their support in general elections was equated with a storm in a tea cup. But fascinating portion for me was not the result but the number of votes secured by a non-entity like Gul Badshah, he got almost 30,000 votes which creates a bench mark that in itself is more astounding for PTI supporters to cheer about. As previously barring Imran Khan's mammoth tally, PTI failed to get even a couple of thousand votes in NA 1, which is a warning all parties and ANP  in particular, not to get carried away with this slim victory because PTI, with slightly better effort is still a force not to be underestimated.


Registered Votes             320581
Votes Polled      73614
Percentage of Votes Polled to Registered Voters  22.96%
Rejected Votes 1093
Candidate and Party
Votes polled
Ghulam Ahmad Bilour Awami National Party      
Gul Badshah       Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf            
Samad Mursalin                Independent    
Muhammad Ibrahim Qasmi Muttahida Deeni Mahaz

Truly, clinging on to the past traditions, these bye elections reaffirmed prevalent indifference of the average voter towards bye elections, manifested in the electoral victories of strong candidates in the shape of Haji Bilour, Imran Khattak and Aqibullah Khan. All these candidates had the capacity, means and resources to bring out the electorate to cast votes in their favour which proved vital in their victory at the polls. This factor conversely went against unknown candidates like Gul  Badshah and Maulana Dervesh.

NA-13 (SWABI-II)Result:

Registered Votes             362779
Votes Polled      80241
Percentage of Votes Polled to Registered Voters  22.12%
Rejected Votes 917
Candidate and Party
Votes polled
Maulana Attaul Haq           Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam (F)
Aqibullah            Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf             
Winner PTI

The most positive revelation was the manner and resilience shown by the people in turning out to vote in countless numbers for the brothers of martyred MPAs in Hangu and Mardan respectively,despite lack of any  party support. The voters signalled a big NO to those who believe in violence as a tool for achievement of their twisted goals.

Registered Votes
Votes Polled
Valid Votes
Rejected Votes
%age turnout
Provincial Election PK-23 (MARDAN-I)
Ahmad Khan Bahadur ANP 13606
Syed Umer Farooq
PTI          12869
Ikram Ullah Shahid MDM2166
Jamshed Khan
Fazal Rabbani Advocate Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan 10484
Zakka Ullah Khan
Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam (F) 3646
Shah Faisal Khan
38391 (now PTI)
Syed Hussaini Independent                12522
Maulana Mian Hussain Jalali
JUI (F)   41
Azam Khan Durrani JUI (F)
Malik Adnan Khan      PTI 19756

Another refreshing aspect was demonstrated by electorate of southern districts in Lakki Marwat and Bannu, the seats which conventionally are influenced by right wing votes. This time around, the voters were taken for granted, as can be shown in the attitude of the JUI-F leadership to field their kin to run for the seats. This has not gone well rather it probably catalysed a counter reaction, as a relative of JUI_F leader and ex Chief Minister Akram Durrani won by a thin margin while Maulana Fazal ur Rehman's brother in all probability is likely to lose, his PTI adversary leading the campaign by 8000 votes and even if he get majority votes of the 20 woman polling stations, it can only reduce the margin of defeat.

Overall the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa elections were a win-win situation for ANP and have much to celebrate having doubled their number of MNA's and retained a provincial seat. In their victory though they must realise the loss of support base is continuing. In PK-23 Mardan e.g.,   the number of voted secured by Ahmad Khan were quite a few thousand less than those secured by Amir Haider Hoti, while his rival from PTI added a couple of thousand to his tally secured in general elections. For PTI,it was a no win-no loss election but came as a rude awakening at an appropriate time to check their follies and resurrect themselves by concentrating on deliverance.

The real loser was the JUI-F, for the party the bye elections ended were a nightmare they would love to forget sooner rather than later.

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