Friday Oct 27, 2017
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)—the ruling party in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province—has defeated its opponents in the by-election on the key NA-4 (Peshawar-IV) seat.
Unofficial and unverified results from all 269 polling stations showed the PTI had won the contest by a significant margin, securing 45,734 votes.
The Awami National Party (ANP) was in second place with 24,874 votes, while the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) received 24,790 votes.
Leaders of the PTI had already declared victory earlier in the evening in messages posted on social media, with chairperson Imran Khan calling it "a direct vote of confidence on performance of KP's PTI govt".
Polls opened in the constituency at 8AM with voters casting their ballots at 269 polling stations, while vote count kicked off after polling closed at 5PM. Thursday had been declared a holiday by the deputy commissioner for the convenience of voters.
This was the first time that electronic voting machines (EVMs) were tested in an electoral exercise in Pakistan. According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), 100 polling booths used EVMs alongside the manual voting process.
The by-election is perceived to be a litmus test for the ruling PTI's popularity in the province, especially in light of next year’s general elections.
The seat had fallen vacant when the incumbent lawmaker, PTI's Gulzar Khan, passed away on August 28 this year. Gulzar Khan had become estranged with the party leadership over differences on several issues but was still a PTI member.
Six political and eight independent candidates contested for the MNA slot; they included PTI’s Arbab Amir Ayub, Asad Gulzar — late incumbent Gulzar Khan’s son — for Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Awami National Party’s (ANP) Khushdil Khan, Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) Wisal Farooq, Tehreek-e-Labaik’s Allama Shafiq Amini, and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Nasir Khan Moosa Zai.
Apart from 1,400 army personnel, around 4,500 police officials were stationed for security in and around the polling stations.
[17:00 PM]: Polling concludes in NA-4, vote counting underway
[15:00 PM]: SSP Operations Sajid Khan says four people were arrested from Bhana Mari area for displaying firearms.
[13:00 PM]: Provincial Information Minister Shah Farman says no untoward incident has taken place in the constituency.
[12:00 PM]: High turnout being witnessed at several polling stations across the constituency
[10:30 AM]: Policeman caught casting vote for someone else in Badbher, according to ANP candidate Khushdil Khan.
[10:00 AM]: Polling under way at Urmar Bala polling station. Long queues of voters outside the polling station.
[9:30 AM]: Polling staff has not arrived at the polling station in Qazi Mohalla School, Chamkani. Polling agents are at the site awaiting ECP staff.
[8:00 AM]: The voting process has commenced in Peshawar and is scheduled to carry on uninterrupted, concluding at 5pm.
COVER IMAGE: A woman shows her marked thumb after casting her vote during the by-election in the NA-4 constituency, Peshawar, October 26, 2017. APP/Shaheryar Anjum