ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is all set to snatch away another two Senate seats from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in the upcoming elections to be held on November 15 in the Punjab Assembly where the Imran Khan-led party has a clear edge over rival PML-N in the numbers game.
As per the details, in the house of 371 members, PTI enjoys the support of 192 with those of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) supporting its original tally of 182.
PML-N, on the other hand, has the support of 169 lawmakers and might be able to get only that of seven others belonging to the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).
One lawmaker of Pakistan Rah-e-Haq Party (PRHP) and three independent members are yet to decide if they would vote for the PTI-fielded candidates or the ones backed by PML-N. Even if the four said lawmakers, along with seven of the PPP, vote for the candidates fielded by PML-N, the total number of votes its candidates would manage to secure will be no higher than 179.
As per the details of the candidates running for the vacant seats of the upper house of the parliament, PTI has fielded Allama Iqbal’s grandson, Waleed Iqbal, and Seemi Ezdi, the sister of disqualified PTI leader Jahangir Khan Tareen. PML-N, on the other hand, has awarded party tickets to former health minister Saira Afzal Tarar and Chaudhry Saud Majeed.
Both Saud and Tarar suffered defeat in the 2018 general elections at the hands of PML-Q and PTI candidates. Tarar was defeated by PTI’s Shaukat Bhatti from Hafizabad while Saud was defeated by PML-Q’s Tariq Bashir Cheema, who was backed by PTI in Yazman, Bahawalpur.
According to sources in PML-N, Saud is trying to win the support of PTI lawmakers from south Punjab; however, this claim holds no ground as Saud is a Punjabi settler and has a stronger support of the lawmakers belonging to central Punjab.
Moreover, since PTI has brought a chief minister belonging to southern Punjab and has accommodated a number of ministers from the same region, it is highly unlikely of the lawmakers of the south to support PML-N’s candidate.
PTI’s Waleed Iqbal, on the other hand, also faced defeat in the July 25 general polls from Lahore. Later, he applied for a ticket to contest the recently held by-election in NA-131, but it was instead awarded to Humayun Akhtar Khan.
With Waleed and his supporters being left disheartened over the party’s move, his nomination for Senate polls has reinvigorated the former’s trust in the leadership, sources in PTI said.
It is worth mentioning here that the two Senate seats in question had fallen vacant after the disqualification of PML-N senators Saadia Abbasi and Haroon Akhtar Khan for possessing dual nationalities.