PM Imran Khan in a fix, hopefuls lobbying for Senate polls

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan is in a fix over the long list of hopefuls lobbying for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) tickets for the upcoming Senate polls as the ruling party is set to bag around 20-23 seats in the Senate polls.

Currently, the PTI has 18 members in the upper house of the parliament. Out of the total 18, seven members of the Senate will retire in March.

The numerical strength of the ruling PTI in National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies suggests that, if carefully planned, the PTI could take total tally of its senators in the upper house of the parliament to 34, including 23 new and 11 sitting members.

It will get the biggest numerical boost from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab Assemblies. PTI will also secure a share from the Sindh and Balochistan legislatures in proportion to the number of its provincial lawmakers.

According to the sources in the PTI, political and business bigwigs have started lobbying for the PTI tickets. Among the ticket hopefuls are Babar Awan, Shahzad Akbar, Shibli Faraz, Malik Amin Aslam, Firdous Ashiq Awan, Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Abdul Razzaq Dawood, Saifullah Niazi, Ejaz Chaudhry, Javed Ashraf Qazi, Arshad Dad, Dr Zarqa and many others.

Following the announcement of the Senate election in the second month of 2021, candidates have begun a campaign to reach out to top government officials and dignitaries for tickets.

According to sources, the retired senators contesting the elections have started vying for the party tickets in their respective political parties. Similarly, some retired senators are lobbying in the party to become senators again.

According to the sources, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Bazdar’s brother has started considering contesting Senate elections.

From South Punjab, PTI’s main political leaders, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Jahangir Tareen, have also started thinking about their close associates.

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is likely to emerge as the second largest party with 19 seats and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) as the third largest party with 18 seats. Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) is likely to become the fourth largest party with 12 seats.

Due to non-election of four seats in erstwhile FATA, the upper house will be reduced to 100 seats.

According to the report, 52 senators, including Leader of Opposition in the Senate Raja Zafarul Haq, Senator Mushahidullah Khan, Information Minister Senator Shibli Faraz and Senator Sherry Rehman will complete their term on March 11, 2021.

The PML-N would face the greatest loss as it would lose 17 senators. Similarly, seven senators of PPP will retire. Four senators of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) will retire from Sindh, while two senators of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) will retire.

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Mian Abrar
The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at [email protected]

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