No opposition party from Punjab in position to win Senate seat

  • PTI nominates Ch Sarwar for upcoming Senate elections from Punjab


LAHORE: The actual bargaining in the Punjab Assembly for the Senate polls is soon expected among the opposition parties as none of them is currently in a position to independently win even a single seat of the Senate from Punjab.

As per the details, 53 members of the Punjab Assembly sit on the opposition benches while the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has an overwhelming majority in the house with 315 members on the treasury benches.

The breakdown of the Punjab Assembly’s opposition parties shows that the actual negotiations would be held between the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) as the PTI has 30 MPAs while both the PPP and PML-Q have 8 members each in the Punjab Assembly. Among the remaining opposition parties, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and the Pakistan National Muslim League have one member each while 5 independent MPAs are also a part of the opposition.

According to the schedule announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan, the polling to elect 12 Senators from Punjab would be held on March 3 in the Punjab Assembly. As many as 45 votes would be required to elect one Senator from Punjab and currently not even a single party of the opposition has the required strength to independently elect a Senator.

The parliamentary party of the PTI in Punjab has started contacting other parties of the opposition to seek support for their candidate, former governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar whose candidature from Punjab was announced by the party on Wednesday.

Speaking to Pakistan Today, leader of the opposition and parliamentary leader of the PTI in the Punjab Assembly Mian Mehmoodur Rashid said that he chaired a meeting of the PTI’s parliamentary party in Punjab on Wednesday and it was decided that the PTI would run a rigorous campaign for Chaudhry Sarwar. He said that MPAs have been tasked to woo other opposition lawmakers, especially the independent MPAs.

“Every party is free to take its own flight, but I being the opposition leader would definitely contact other parties and try to gather support for our candidate,” said Rashid when asked if there were any chances of the opposition fielding a joint candidate.

Faiza Malik, an MPA of the Pakistan People’s Party from Punjab told this scribe that her party yet has neither fielded any candidate nor has made up its mind to support that of the PTI as it would be decided by the party’s chairman.

“Yes, it is true that no opposition party can independently secure even a single seat because of the numbers’ game,” she said. However, sources among the PPP claimed that the party would field its own candidate in the Senate polls from Punjab.

Meanwhile, the chief whip of the ruling PML-N in the Punjab Assembly Rana Muhammad Arshad told Pakistan Today that he has not yet received any instructions from the party leadership to create a strategy in the assembly regarding the Senate polls.

We are currently receiving applications in the PML-N’s Islamabad secretariat for the Senate polls till February 3, and the strategy for the polls in the Punjab Assembly would be made after it as our MPAs are united and would repose confidence over the party, he said.