The saga of NA 122 bye election has come to an end (or has it?). While the event generated an unprecedented hype in workers and voters of both major contenders, it also appeared to vindicate those who have been predicting the death knell for PPP as a major national political force.

As far as the results of NA 122 are concerned, the PML N win is by a narrow margin, which may indicate a drop in its traditional vote bank within the constituency and perhaps in Punjab. I am happy that the two candidates have shown a fair amount of grace on the outcome, but I cannot say the same for some other PML N leaders, who have perhaps lost the capacity to deport themselves with “humility in victory and dignity in defeat”.

As someone who watched the by-elections from outside the box, I was once again disappointed with our national psyche. Voters from both PTI and PML-N exercised their right of adult franchise enthusiastically, but followed the dictates of blind loyalty and mindsets. It would have been a happier situation, had these people cast their vote basing their choice on issues and delivery of good governance. A private TV Channel’s on the spot reporter showed ruling party voters being ferried to the polling station in government transport. He promptly got hold of a voter (and an educated well to do one at that) and asked him if the practice was a violation of rules set in place by the Election Commission. The man responded by saying that the allegation regarding use of official transport was incorrect. The funny (and more regretful) part was when the reported pointed out the vehicles with green number plates. The gentleman being questioned turned his back on the scene and continued to state that he had seen no misused vehicle. So much for blind loyalty (read moronic obstinacy).

The three by-elections once again proved the inability or inefficacy of the Election Commission to deliver seamlessly. This institution appeared helplessly apathetical as countless technical violations (none though, in actual polling) were committed in NA 122. These ranged from use of government resources to massive campaign spending under the very noses of the Commission – an omission that has further lowered its image in the eyes of discerning public.

So much on the by-election scene. Having returned from New York after addressing the UN General Assembly, the PM is once again proceeding on a US tour, the itinerary of which includes a meeting with President Obama. Like our Foreign Ministry, I too can give a score of reasons for two expensive trips so close together in time, but why couldn’t the meetings planned for the second tour be included in the agenda of the first one? After all, the PM will once again carry a large retinue and spend millions out of the national exchequer – millions out of the money that belongs to the people of Pakistan. But who bothers about expense, when what you spend is someone else’s hard earned sweat and blood.

I did make a passing reference to the current state of PPP in the opening lines of this week’s piece. A reflection of where this party now stands can be seen in the results of the three by-elections and its dismal performance therein. While Pakistan People Party’s image has shrunk from a national to a provincial stature, the very ‘pundits’ who predicted this, are now saying that Z A Bhutto’s love and joy is fast losing its vote bank in Sindh. I find nothing wrong in this prediction, especially in the light of dismal and corrupt governance in our Southern province and absent leadership.

And last, but not the least a word on PTI performance in KPK. I recently travelled across the province to see things for myself. I was pleasantly surprised to see a marked improvement in many areas including police services, land revenue system and health. The problem with Khan Sahib’s government in KPK lies in a poor and unintelligent projection of what is happening. Perhaps it is time that the Chairman of PTI takes a hard look at what needs to be done.