The PTI is mighty pleased with itself at the moment, as General Secretary Jahangir Khan Tareen has defeated Siddique Khan Baloch of ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in the by-election for the coveted NA-154 seat, in a landslide victory. Vote count of all 303 polling stations confirmed that Tareen has won the poll by a staggering 40,000 votes. The NA-154 was one of the four seats that the PTI had maintained was their mandate that had been taken away by the ruling party in the 2013 general elections (through alleged rigging, according to the PTI).

It has been a long journey for Mr. Tareen, who started his political career from Rahim Yar Khan instead of his native town Lodhran on the advice of his brother-in-law Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmood of PML-Functional. He later had a fallout with him, which prompted him to join the PTI. He lost the election to Independent candidate Siddique Khan Baloch in 2013, crying foul till the election tribunal ordered a re-election.

This election result is truly a warm home-coming for him as the people of Lodhran voted for him despite Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s multibillion-rupee development package for the district. It goes to show that people vote for the feudal families- something the PTI has faced losses due to in the Punjab. They won now, due to the same reasons that PML-N wins elsewhere. There may be something to this strategy of “electables”, though it might not be a good thing for “naya Pakistan”. If the old faces are to join the new party, and win regardless of party mandate, then the PTI is no different from all the rest. But this is something we have known for a long time, including the fact that without the big names of Punjab, the party would have never reached this point.

The win wasn’t without the usual hiccups that plague the PTI. An independent candidate Shahid Jahangir Khan dared to keep the batsman symbol, allegedly as a ploy to confuse voters into voting for the wrong Jahangir. The PTI has been up in arms over this, accusing the ECP and the PML-N of manipulating the system.

Needless to say PTI gave it their all for this seat, as well as the other three that they had taken to the streets for. At the least, it is commendable that the PTI is perhaps the most persistent political party and does not give up even when the fat lady sings. PTI must not let these constituencies and its people down, if it has any hopes to win the hearts of a larger voter base ahead of the next general elections.