Pakistan

ANALYSIS: Three wickets may have fallen, but PTI needs to look at reality

The political temperature in the wake of PTI’s rigging claims against the PML-N may have left the government shell-shocked for some time, but the former’s monotonous criticism coupled with rabble-rousing doesn’t seem to go popular with the public – especially PTI’s six straight defeats in by-elections post-Islamabad Dharna. 

Keeping mum for a few after months after general elections 2013, the PTI had been constantly clamouring for scrutiny of alleged vote fraud in four National Assembly constituencies –NA-110 (Sialkot), NA-122 (Lahore), NA-154 (Lodhran) and NA-125 (Lahore).

Going by the election tribunal findings of all four NA constituencies, in three instances the tribunal declared election void while in NA-110 Sialkot where PML-N’s senior leader Khwaja Asif stood victorious had the verdict in his favour. PTI filed plea in the Supreme Court against NA-110 which is still pending and Imran Khan-led PTI is hopeful to get “justice” from the apex court.

In the three remaining constituencies, election tribunal never used the word “rigging”, instead it said irregularities in the voting.

In by-elections after the 128-day long Islamabad sit-in, the PTI saw tilt in public support to an extent. Six by-elections were held post-Dharna – four in NA constituencies and two on provincial seats. The constituencies were NA-137, NA-246, NA-108, NA-19, PP-196 and PP-100.

It was not long ago that PTI was in no doubt during NA-246 (Karachi) by-election campaign that they will sweep it, but the fortune chuckled on it.

PTI can boast its assertion after detection of irregularities in three of the four constituencies’ as claimed by the PTI. But what if PML-N enters the by-election –as news already going rounds that N-League may not approach the apex court – and win all three seats again? In that case, it will turn out to be huge embarrassment for the PTI with the capital E.

Will PTI backtrack on rigging claims after the by-election result? One can only surmise given the six by-election results after Dharna. However, PTI’s loss is not carved in stone. It can resurrect to win and again put pressure on the government, but it won’t be an easy option to opt for.

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