A reality check for Prime Minister Khan

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lost three National Assembly (NA) seats in the October 14 byelections, two of which were won by Mr. Khan in the July general election and vacated later, in what is widely seen as a reality check for the Prime Minister. Byelections took place for 11 NA and 24 Provincial Assembly seats. Both the PTI and and the Opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) won four NA seats each. While the PTI should be worried after the results and the PML-N was celebrating, the real winner of these elections was the Results Transmission System (RTS), which did not crash this time around. The Election Commission and all political parties can never forget the disaster that was the RTS during the July general election. Opposition parties allege that the RTS crash was a ploy to rig the polls. But over the byelections, there were hardly any such allegations. Journalist Imtiaz Alam said the results were the first indicator of the downturn of the populist wave that brought Mr. Khan into power. “It must make Khan think about what he is doing as his popularity is going down the drain.” Senior news anchor Gharida Farooqi said main leaders of Opposition parties — the PML-N and the Pakistan Peoples Party — have told her that these byelections were probably the fairest elections since the 1970s. Questions for PTI “These byelections were held within 60 days of the PTI government and losing two prime seats in the National Assembly vacated by the Prime Minister has caused damage to not just the reputation of the government but has also raised questions on the PTI’s organisational structure and internal rifts,” said Ms. Farooqi. She believes Mr. Khan probably does not see any threat to his government’s future and is confident about staying in power. “The PML-N, on the other hand, did get a much-needed morale boost due to the unexpected wins,” she said, but wondered if they can translate it into a turnaround for the political future of the party, which at the moment seems bleak due to Shahbaz Sharif’s arrest and an uncertain future for Nawaz Sharif.

Source  : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-international/a-reality-check-for-prime-minister-khan/article25276494.ece

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