Though the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf has managed to retain the NA-4 seat rather easily, the by-poll outcome has highlighted that the incumbents in the province have lost ground since 2013.The party’s candidate had secured 39 percent of the total votes polled back then. In 2017, the party could get 31 percent votes. More significantly, its winning margin has come down from 25 percent (of the votes polled) in 2013 to 14.9 percent in 2017. The other major trend to emerge from the outcome is the significant rise in the Awami National Party’s (ANP) vote share. The party has managed to improve its vote share from 11 percent in 2013 to 18.9 percent now. Given the conduct of ANP’s local leaders in Mashal Khan’s case, it is doubtful if this performance of the party can be attributed to its reclamation of Bacha Khan’s legacy of non-violent struggle for political ends.The party in power in the centre has also secured almost as much votes as the ANP but with support of the JUI-F. All of this suggests that while the PTI has lost ground, there is no other challenger strong enough on its own to vote the party out. But what happens in a by-poll cannot be generalised for the general election. And like the PML-N who should be concerned about its strongholds after the recent by-poll of Lahore, the PTI would also do well to deliver on its 2013 promises and improve its governance to maintain its strongholds in 2018.Like NA-120, the extremist barelvi outfit, Labbaik Ya Rasool (LYR), has outperformed all other religious parties in NA-4 as well. This is extremely worrying. Firstly, the party campaigned in the name of confessed and condemned assassin in the recent by-poll, and the authorities concerned let that happen. This must not have been allowed. Does glorifying terrorists not come under the ambit of the National Action Plan? And has the highest court of law of this land not condemned this assassin as a terrorist? How then can the Election Commission of Pakistan let the party canvass for votes in the name of a terrorist? This is absurd to say the least, and requires urgent attention of those who have been mandated by the Pakistani people to enforce the law. * Published in Daily Times, October 28th 2017.