Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Monday said that the local government elections results haven’t fully jolted the PTI.
Calling the opposition party leaders “dwarfs”, he said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has a high stature and people would neither hand over Pakistan to Bilawal Bhutto, Maryam Nawaz nor Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman in the next general elections.
“When you gauge options, will you hand over Pakistan to Bilawal and Maryam instead of Imran Khan?”
When reminded that the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have taken a step further by giving a decision in favour of JUI-F, the minister said that it were local government elections and “only a fool would take such a decision in the next general elections”.
“All of them are dwarfs,” Fawad said, “Imran Khan has a very high stature and the PTI did not face any challenge in the current situation.” Fawad, while admitting defeat, said that KP is still PTI’s stronghold as the margin of losing PTI candidates is minimal.
Listing a few reasons of the defeat, the minister admitted that there were differences among the MNAs and MPAs of the party in K-P, which apparently helped others, adding that the mechanism of awarding of tickets was also flawed.
Several PTI candidates were contesting against each other as independent candidates, he said, adding that despite all odds, the PTI was still the highest vote getter.
Fawad said that the poll results had also proved that the PPP and the PML-N were confined to their provinces and they did not exist beyond that.
For the first time, he said, independent and transparent elections had taken place, adding there was no such example of happening the same under former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif and Sindh’s Murad Ali Shah.
“The credit goes to Imran Khan and the PTI for holding such an election that everyone is accepting the results,” Fawad said. “There is no concept of sitting government losing local government elections because of massive rigging along with Patwari, AC, SHOs running the government’s campaign,” he said, adding that defeat must be accepted and the PTI should move forward.
“Defeat must be accepted to move ahead,” he said. “The PM has fulfilled his promise of giving an empowered local government system.”
The LG elections were held in 17 districts, comprising 64 tehsils, on a party-basis as per the ruling of the courts. The JUI-F emerged as the leading party, whereas the PTI was trailing behind.
The biggest upset for the PTI was losing the seat for the coveted post of Peshawar mayor in the first LG elections held in KP after the merger of tribal districts with it. According to unofficial results, Zubair Ali of JUI-F defeated PTI’s Rizwan Bangash by a margin of around 11,500 votes.
Surprisingly, the Awami National Party (ANP) has made a comeback and managed to win nine seats. Reportedly, independent candidates have bagged nine tehsil chairperson seats as well and the PML-N, the PPP, the Jamaat-e-Islami and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Islehat managed to grab two seats each. The official results are still awaited.