PML-N-backed candidate effortlessly wins Senate seat from Punjab

2
107
LAHORE: Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah along with Dr. Asad Ashraf win by-election for a vacated Senate seat and others show gign of victory after by-election for a vacated Senate seat. INP PHOTO by Hamid Musa
  • Asad Ashraf clinches 298 votes as against 38 of PTI’s Zarqa Taimur
  • Sana says ‘hidden’ forces defeated today
  • PPP abstains from polling

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz-backed candidate Dr Asad Ashraf recorded an emphatic victory as he comfortably clinched the Senate seat that fell vacant after the disqualification of former party senator Nehal Hashmi.

The polling was held at the Punjab Assembly on a seat that fell vacant after the disqualification of Hashmi in a Supreme Court decision that pertained to the contempt of court proceedings against him.

As per the details, the polling remained in progress inside the Punjab Assembly from 9 am to 4 pm amid tight security. Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rana Sanaullah kicked off the polling, while Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif also visited the assembly to cast his vote.

Punjab CM Shehbaz, the interim president of PML-N, seen casting vote

Ashraf grabbed 298 votes while Dr Zarqa Taimur of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) could only take hold of 38 votes. As many as 12 votes were declared invalid while one vote cast by MPA Malik Waheed was cancelled due to violating the secrecy of the ballot. It is worth mentioning here that the PML-N required 169 votes to win the seat which was comfortably secured.

PML-N REMAINS INTACT:

Talking outside the Punjab Assembly, Rana Sanaullah said that the record number of votes grabbed by the PML-N shows that the party is still intact despite some “hidden” forces’ attempts to create rifts within the party ranks.

The provincial law minister said that the PML-N has 310 MPAs in the assembly and the total number of votes polled in the favour of its candidate was 298, whereas 11 votes were declared invalid. “The tally shows that 309 MPs voted for the PML-N,” he said, adding: “Four party MPAs couldn’t come to cast their votes due to their domestic commitments.”

Sana further claimed that the PML-N will perform even better on March 3—the day of Senate polls—as he claimed that no MPA will absent on the polling day.

The undemocratic forces have failed to weaken the PML-N as evident from today’s election and our party would sweep the next general elections as well under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif, he added.

MPA Arshad Lodhi from Sahiwal (PP-223) could not come due to ailment while Abdul Qadeer Alvi from Toba Tek Singh (PP-85) was out of the country. MPA Ch Sarfraz Afzal from Rawalpindi (PP-6) was busy in the marriage ceremonies of her sister. Nizamuddin Sialvi, nephew of Hameeduddin Sialvi, from Sargodha (PP 37) was also among the absentees.

PTI AND PML-Q:

The PTI could get 39 votes while its one vote was declared invalid. The PTI has a strength of 30 in the assembly; however, it managed to secure the support of two independent candidates and MPAs of the 8-member strong PML-Q.

It has now been decided between the PTI and PML-Q to support each other in the coming Senate polls and now Kamil Ali Agha of PML-Q and Chaudhry Sarwar of PTI would get second priority votes from each other’s party in the elections.

PPP ABSTAINED FROM VOTING:

The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) refrained from voting. Having strength of eight MPAs in the provincial assembly, it is most likely that PPP would go for a solo flight in the coming polls. Shehzad Ali Khan, a son-in-law of former Punjab CM Mian Manzoor Wattoo, will be representing the PPP.

Thursday polling suggests that opposition cannot win even a single seat from Punjab as over 47 first priority votes are required to win a general seat.