LAHORE    -    Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sunday said that her party should graciously accept defeat in the Punjab by-elections and submit to the will of the people.

“Wherever there are weaknesses, efforts should be made to identify them and overcome them,” she said in a tweet late Sunday after her party faced one of the worst defeats in the by-polls.

Also, PML-N Senator Dr Afnanullah Khan congratulated the PTI on securing victory in the by-elections on Sunday.  Similarly, PML-N’s senior leader Malik Mohammad Ahmed Khan accepted that PTI has received a “landslide victory” in the hotly-contested Punjab by-polls. Talking to a private news channel, Khan said: “I accept that PTI has won and the party wholeheartedly accepts the opinion of the public.” He further added that everybody can get into the debate of how and what happened, but “apparently the situation right now shows that PTI has won the elections; therefore, we congratulate them and accept our defeat.”

Replying to a question regarding PML-N’s strategy for the election for the position of Chief Minister Punjab, scheduled to be held on July 22, Khan said: “I spoke to Hamza Shehbaz and he was of the view that people have expressed their choice, so we need to acknowledge it.”

“Last time the situation was different as there were divisions among the party but this time, it is all about the public and now we will assess where we went wrong,” he said, adding he considered these by-polls as snap-elections.

Lamenting that the party lost three major seats in Lahore, he said that now there was no reason for the party to stick to their electioneering campaign. “This is a difficult situation for us [PML-N] as we have lost elections in Punjab, where we’ve always had a stronghold, and our government in federal is a coalition setup with thin numbers,” he maintained.

Khan further added that when parties consider public opinion, then power becomes secondary and people’s choice becomes the top priority. Replying to a question regarding the chances of early elections, he accepted that the results show PML-N has lost the hold of Punjab, while for the federal government, he refrained from commenting as decisions are taken after consultations from all coalition parties.