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Graphic by Naseem ur Rehman

With less than two weeks before the nation goes to the polls, intense election campaigns somewhat clear the hazy picture ahead.

At this critical juncture, we at TNS have tried to look into electioneering as it plays out in each of the four provinces of Pakistan; which party/ies have the prospects and capacity to bag more seats in the upcoming elections, what are the trends and issues peculiar to each province.

Punjab is certainly the main battleground which will decide the ‘winner’ because the party that wins most National Assembly seats in Punjab is likely to carry the day and capture the prime ministerial slot. Political analysts seem to disagree over who will win over Punjab — the PML-N or the PTI — but agree that the vote in the province will largely be about pro- and anti-Nawaz Sharif. While the PPP seems to have lost its presence in the province substantially, the presence of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan is palpable.

In Sindh, the second biggest province of Pakistan, PPP seems in a comfortable position to bag most of the national and provincial assembly seats at a time when MQM has lost its sheen due to a deliberate effort by the establishment to disintegrate it. Still, together the PTI and PML-N in Karachi and the Grand Democratic Alliance in rural Sindh are still not in a position to make a dent in PPP’s tally in Sindh’s results.

In Balochistan, the rise of a new party Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) that has already played a big role in the Senate elections still attracts the most ‘electables’ in the province. But BAP does not have the same clout in the Pashtun belt as it has in the tribal belt which may leave it with the only option of forming some sort of a coalition to form government. In the insurgency-hit areas, the turnout may be a deciding factor.

Read also: All eyes on Punjab

If opinion polls are to be believed, PTI stands to win a good number of seats in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. But still, experts believe, it is most likely to be a coalition government or, as Rahimullah Yusufzai says, “all the anti-PTI parties would have to join hands to keep it out of power.”

We have missed out on the election prospects in the capital.


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