PML-N, PPP take ‘glass half full’ view of election results

*Political commentators interpret party leaders’ opinions on PTI’s victory in cantonment board elections*

Twitter became the site of celebration and scrutiny alike as major political parties and their followers commented on the cantonment board election results, which took place country-wide on Sunday.

The elections were conducted for 206 general seats spread across 39 of 42 cantonment boards in the country. According to unofficial results as of Monday night, ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) emerged supreme with 63 seats, whereas the Pakistani Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) rode in second on their coat tails with 59 seats. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) meanwhile lagged with 17 seats.

Federal Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives Minister Asad Umar said that the results proved that PTI was still the most popular ‘national’ party in the country. He elaborated on the results and said that PMLN got no seats in Balochistan and trailed in fifth in Sindh. He added that PPP had no standing in Balochistan and Punjab, in addition to being third in Khyber Pakthunkhwa (KP). Umar said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was evidently the only true leader of the country.

Opposition PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz Sharif said that the results indicated her party was doing extremely well in lieu of being targeted as ‘public enemy no 1’ repeatedly. The ruling party, Sharif said, contested elections on ‘scrounged support’, whereas PML-N won seats on their ‘electoral strength’.

PPP member Sharmila Faruqi also gave her two cents on her party’s performance. She thanked the people of Karachi for raising the number of seats PPP bagged in the previous elections from three to 11. Faruqi added that PPP was the only political party that managed to claim seats in every cantonment board.

While the high-up officials from major parties put their own spin on the election results, their loyalists and other political commentators had more astute observations to make.

Self-described political junkie Maleeha Manzoor said that PPP took over KP’s capital city Peshawar from PTI, yet Umar had claimed overall victory for his party. Manzoor said that PTI lost their strongholds to PML-N in Punjab and to PPP in Karachi. She further added that the ‘Big Win’ placed PTI a mere four seats ahead of PML-N.

Social worker and PTI supporter Muhammad Qamar Bashir said that the election results boosted PML-N’s position in Punjab, which gave them a standing chance to reign supreme in General Elections 2023

PML-N supporter Rana Abdullah Akhter said that if PTI enjoyed popular support like a ruling party usually did, then they would have easily ‘stormed’ the election. Akhter added that ‘politically aware’ spectators would see the nuance in PML-N being a close runner up in that the former ruling party still had the people’s trust.

The election results also demonstrated the relative might of independent candidates who took 52 seats. Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) won ten seats, while other parties including but not limited to Jamat-i-Islami (JI) and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) bagged 11 seats in total.

Saniya Rashid is the research editor at Minute Mirror. She holds a Master's in Journalism degree from Ryerson University, Canada and a BA (Hons) in History, South Asian and Contemporary Asian Studies from the University of Toronto. She has a keen interest in connecting the past to the present by conceptualizing current affairs through a theoretical lens from a variety of socio-cultural disciplines. To that end, she is most interested in unearthing subaltern narratives and is committed to shifting the way minorities and marginalized communities are covered and given a voice in the media. She can be reached at