ISLAMABAD: Pakistani party Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), led by former prime minister Imran Khan, was in the lead by-elections Sunday which will test the popularity of the country’s major political parties ahead of next year’s general election.
Khan, who contested seven seats in the National Assembly, has already won Peshawar and was leading on five other seats. His party also won a seat in the Provincial Assembly.
However, Pakistan’s Tehreek-i-Insaf party lost a key seat in the National Assembly in Multan where Ali Musa Gilani, son of former prime minister Yusuf Raza, defeated Mehr Bano Qureshi, daughter of the former minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz also won a seat in the Provincial Assembly, but trailed the PTI in other seats, according to unofficial results.
A total of 11 seats were to be filled, including eight seats in the National Assembly and three seats in the Provincial Assembly.
Data from the Election Commission of Pakistan showed that a total of 101 candidates from different political parties and independents are participating in the vote, including 52 from Punjab, 33 from Sindh and 16 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
About 4.472 million voters are registered in these constituencies. In Punjab, 1,434 polling stations were established, 979 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 340 in Sindh.
There were sporadic incidents of violence in various locations, but overall the electoral process remained fluid and peaceful.
Initially, voters were slow to come out, apparently due to Sunday. However, the voting process accelerated in the afternoon.
Strict security measures were taken by the authorities to maintain peace and, in addition to police and paramilitaries from the Rangers and Frontier Corps, regular troops were also deployed in sensitive polling stations.
The main contest was between Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and PTI. The polling result is expected to capture the mood of the masses ahead of next year’s general election.
Since being impeached following a no-confidence vote, Khan has campaigned for snap polls and held regular rallies. This helped him win 15 of the 20 Punjab assembly seats in July in the by-elections.

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