The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is all set to hold by-elections on two seats vacated by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Saadia Abbasi and Haroon Akhtar after they were declared unfit to be senators for holding dual nationalities.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Walid Iqbal and PML-N’s Saud Majeed will contest on the general seat while PTI’s Seemi Ezdi and PML-N’s Saira Tarar are pitted against each other on the seat reserved for women.
Though the ruling PTI has a majority in the Punjab Assembly, PML-N is vying hard to retain both seats, taking advantage of an apparent rift within PTI and its Punjab allies. Also, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has agreed to support PML-N in the by-polls.
PTI has 180 seats in the Punjab Assembly and has the support of Pakistan Muslim League-Q’s (PML-Q) 10 lawmakers besides four independent candidates and one of the Rah-e-Haq Party, while PML-N has 167 seats and only the support of PPP’s seven parliamentarians in the provincial assembly.