Even in a normally fickle political climate, the general election held on Saturday brought surprising results: the fortunes of religious and smaller political parties have changed,
In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), Awami National Party (ANP), a member of the ruling coalition in the centre for the past five years, is all but routed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
In 2008 elections, ANP secured 13 National Assembly and 54 provincial assembly seats. But in this election, as per the progressive results, the party has suffered a major blow in the National Assembly seat.
Adding to ANP’s losses, party stalwarts including Asfandyar Wali Khan and Ghulam Ahmed Bilour have lost from their respective constituencies. Bilour, an ex-railway minister, conceded defeat from NA-1 Peshawar where PTI chief Imran Khan emerged as winner.
Not only ANP but the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) seem to be in troubled waters in the province, and are struggling to retain their position.
In the last election, the JUI-F won 7 National Assembly and 26 provincial assembly seats respectively. The Jamaat-e-Islami, which boycotted the 2008 polls, appears to have dented the JUI-F in the province.
The 2013 elections also proved to be fatal for the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q).
In 2008 polls, the PML-Q bagged 54 National Assembly seats while it also won 118 provincial assembly seats.
Though Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi won his home constituency Gujarat, other party candidates faced drubbing at the hands of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) in Punjab.
Among the small political parties, it appears that only Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) will be in a position to retain their past position. In the 2008 elections, the MQM had 25 National Assembly seats while it also won 51 provincial assembly seats from Sindh. The figures include reserved seats for women.
The nationalist parties particularly Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) has made a comeback in Balochistan. The PkMAP chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai won his National Assembly seats from Quetta while his other party candidates are also expected to do well in the province.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2013.