Imran Khan’s party leads in Pakistan by-elections

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party, led by former premier Imran Khan, was leading in the key by-elections on Sunday that will test the popularity of major political parties in the country ahead of general elections next year.
Khan, who contested seven National Assembly seats, has already won from Peshawar and was leading on five other seats. His party also won a Provincial Assembly seat.
However, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party lost a key National Assembly seat in Multan where Ali Musa Gilani, son of former premier Yusuf Raza, defeated Mehr Bano Qureshi, daughter of former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
Ruling Pakistan Muslims League-Nawaz also bagged one Provincial Assembly seat but was trailing behind the PTI on other seats, according to unofficial results.
A total of 11 seats were up for grabs, including eight National Assembly seats and three Provincial Assembly seats.
The Election Commission of Pakistan data showed that a total of 101 candidates from different political parties and independents are taking part in the vote, including 52 in Punjab, 33 in Sindh, and 16 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Around 4.472 million voters are registered in these constituencies. In Punjab, 1,434 polling stations have been established, 979 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and 340 in Sindh.
There were sporadic incidents of violence at various places but overall the polling process remained smooth and peaceful.
Initially, the voters were slow to come out, apparently due to Sunday. However, the polling process picked up the pace by the afternoon.
Strict security measures were taken by the authorities to maintain peace and apart from police and paramilitary Rangers and Frontier Corps, regular troops were also deployed at sensitive polling stations.
The main contest was between Pakistan Muslims League-Nawaz and PTI. The outcome of polling is expected to capture the mood of the masses ahead of general elections next year.
Since his removal from office through a no-confidence vote, Khan has been campaigning for snap polls and regularly holding rallies. It helped him to win 15 out of 20 seats of the Punjab assembly in July when by-elections were held.

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