LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf retained its Senate seat during a by-poll held in the Punjab Assembly whilst its rival Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz secured three votes more than its original strength, putting a question mark on the ruling party’s united camp.
PTI's nominee Dr Shehzad Waseem got elected to the Senate from Punjab by defeating PML-N’s Khawaja Ahmad Hassaan with a margin of 12 votes.
As per details, 351 votes were cast on Wednesday for the Upper House seat that fell vacant after Chaudhry Sarwar resigned to take oath as Governor Punjab.
Waseem scored 181 votes defeating Hassaan who managed to get 169 votes while one vote was declared invalid. It is worth mentioning here that votes secured by PTI’s candidate were the lowest of all recent polls. PTI’s pick for Punjab Assembly speakership Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi bagged 201 votes while Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari became the deputy speaker with 187 votes. Dr Arif Alvi also scored 186 votes from the provincial assembly during the Presidential polls.
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Interestingly, PML-N's nominee got maximum votes out of all the elections held in Punjab Assembly when Chaudhry Iqbal Gujjar, Waris Shad and Maulana Fazl ur Rehman got 147, 159 and 141 votes respectively for the slot of Speaker, Deputy Speaker and President of Pakistan.
The figures show a 20 seats decline in PTI’s electorate since the speaker’s election while an increase in the former ruling party’s scorecard.
PML-N has 159 MPAs in Punjab Assembly while PPP’s 7 MPAs also cast votes for PML-N.
It is being claimed in many quarters that the interview of Rana Mashood was a well calculated move by PML-N to give an impression that it has garnered support of the ‘powerful establishment’ in order to keep the party intact and get maximum seats in the by-elections to be held on October 14.
According to reports, Hassan’s 169 votes ‘defeat’ is also being considered a boost for PML-N as the party was earlier struggling to keep its own strength in the assembly.
Talking to media persons outside the Punjab Assembly, PML-N legislator Samiullah Khan said that this election has exposed the first 40 days performance of PTI as it couldn’t get the votes according to its strength.
“We don’t believe in any sort of undemocratic or illegal activity and getting three more votes than our strength is the result of our better political strategy,” Khan said.
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When asked if PML-N is involved in horse-trading in Wednesday’s election, he said that Speaker Elahi was openly violating the sanctity of his office by claiming that cracks have emerged within the PML-N. “It’s actually the PTI where cracks have developed and the by-poll results are just its manifestation,” he alleged.
Meanwhile, the newly elected Senator Dr Waseem said that he will definitely fight the case of Punjab in the Senate. “I am thankful to Prime Minister Imran Khan, Governor Punjab Chaudhry Sarwar, Senior minister Punjab Aleem Khan and our coalition partners for their confidence,” he said.
Senior minister Aleem Khan tried to dispel impression that PTI’s candidate couldn’t get votes according to the party position and said their three MPAs were out of country and therefore couldn’t cast their votes today.
Earlier, PML-N legislators raised slogans against the election commission in the assembly for allowing PTI’s Sher Akbar Khan to cast his vote after the polling time
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