The result of the NA-154 by-election comes as a huge blow to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI). This was the home ground of PTI favourite Jehangir Tareen, who was recently disqualified by the Supreme Court (SC). This victory of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) in the constituency shows that PTI will not have an easy time appeasing the vote bank of Punjab. Many were expecting the seat to go to PTI due to the influence of the Tareens, however, it did not go as well as planned. There are a number of reasons for this. The top most however is the selection of Ali Tareen for the seat. He is the son of Jehangir Tareen and this move coming from a party which wholeheartedly takes a stand against dynastic rule is not only self contradictory but also hypocritical, as many would say.

Another intriguing factor to note in this case is that he is not a seasoned politician, he has barely set foot in the political scene of the country, and expecting him to outdo a very seasoned party was a clear mistake.

Many were also critical of PMLN’s choice of candidate over Siddique Baloch’s son Umair Khan Baloch. This move was blamed for the lack of vigour in the PMLN vote bank in the constituency, however, the lead of Muhammad Iqbal Shah proves that PMLN did not lose its ground. The fact that he was able to lead the election with such a margin proves that he was the right choice for the competition.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), despite its attempt to put up a fight, remains less popular among the masses of Punjab. The party had a very negligent number of votes and was surpassed by the independent candidate supported by Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan (TLP). Again, it a proof that PPP would have to come up with a brilliant strategy to make itself relevant in the Pakistani political scene at the moment. The voters are either divided between PTI and PMLN or they are shifting their focus towards the religious parties.

Punjab is definitely going to be the deciding factor in the upcoming general elections. PMLN is going strong despite the challenges. With this election as well, they took their time to decide the candidate due to criticism of choosing an electable while PTI was working on appeasing the voters. They made their choice well and PTI again has to rethink its strategy in order to gather the most seats in the next general elections.