Pakistan’s PML-N scents general election victory after by-poll triumph

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate, Pir Iqbal Shah, who defeated the son of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) central leader, Jahangir Khan Tareen, in his home constituency, NA-154. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 13 February 2018
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Pakistan’s PML-N scents general election victory after by-poll triumph

LAHORE: The recent win of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate in Lodhran has boosted the morale of the ruling party’s workers, leading many of them to describe it as a prelude to their victory in the forthcoming July general elections.
A previously unknown politician, Pir Iqbal Shah, defeated the son of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) central leader, Jahangir Khan Tareen, in his home constituency, NA-154, by a significant margin.
Shah won the seat by securing 113,542 votes in the by-election while PTI’s contender, Ali Tareen, could get only 85,933 votes. Meanwhile, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) candidate, Ali Beg, received only 3,100 votes.
The electoral contest in NA-154 had become inevitable after the Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualified Jahangir Tareen for being “dishonest” under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution in December 2017. Unlike his son, the elder Tareen had won the seat in an earlier by-election in 2015 by a huge margin of around 40,000 votes.
The PML-N believes this victory indicates that the party will also win the next elections.
“The voters in Lodhran have rejected the negative propaganda against our leader, Mian Mohammed Nawaz Sharif, and given a fresh mandate to him. If all goes well, the party will get a two-thirds majority in the July polls,” Salahuddin Butt, a PML-N worker, told Arab News.
But PTI chief Imran Khan believes that his party is learning from its mistakes. “For all Insafians who are feeling dejected after NA-154 result, every setback is an opportunity to analyze one’s mistakes, correct them & come back stronger. Successful people, institutions & nations learn from their failures,” he said in a tweet after his party’s defeat.
“The Lodhran victory is a big victory for the PML-N and a shock for the PTI. It will probably leave an impact on the forthcoming general elections,” said Salim Bokhari, a senior political analyst and editor of an English language national daily, The Nation.
However, other analysts took a different view of the situation.
“All the big families and political figures stood united against the Tareens due to their local politics. The situation will not remain the same in the general elections,” said Chaudhry Khadim, political affairs editor of an Urdu newspaper, Daily Pakistan.
Maryam Nawaz, daughter of Nawaz Sharif, said in a tweet that her party’s victory in the NA-154 Lodhran by-poll had “set the tone for the 2018 general elections.”


Taliban say no peace with ‘occupation,’ want US talks

Updated 24 min 15 sec ago
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Taliban say no peace with ‘occupation,’ want US talks

  • The Taliban have always said the war can only end through direct talks with the US
  • Thousands of people - military and civilian - have been killed since the war began

KABUL, Afghanistan: The leader of the Taliban says there will be no peace in Afghanistan as long as the foreign “occupation” continues, reiterating the group’s position that the 17-year war can only be brought to an end through direct talks with the United States.
In a message released Saturday in honor of the Eid Al-Adha holiday, Maulvi Haibatullah Akhunzadah says the group remains committed to “Islamic goals,” the sovereignty of Afghanistan and ending the war.
The Taliban have had a major resurgence in recent years, seizing districts across the country and regularly carrying out large-scale attacks.
From 1996 until 2001, the Taliban ruled in accordance with a harsh interpretation of Islamic law. Women were barred from education and largely confined to their homes, and the country hosted Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda.