ISLAMABAD - Both Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his younger brother Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif would be missing the crucial Senate elections scheduled on March 5 as both of them are proceeding to Saudi Arabia on an official visit today (Wednesday) on the invitation of King Salman bin Abdul Aziz.

However, before embarking on his three-day visit, the prime minister would be holding crucial meeting with his party MPs from all the four provinces and federal capital as well as members of the allies parties to give final touches to the strategy devised for the Senate elections. Sources aware of the development informed The Nation that in the meeting which would be held at Punjab House would mainly discuss the Senate elections and the polling strategy to be adopted to check error-free voting to the party nominees against general, women and technocrat seats in all the four provinces.

Prime Minister Sharif had already given direction to party MNAs and MPAs from all the four provinces and federal capital to ensure their presence in their respective assembly on the polling day - March 5 - and cast their vote in support of the party candidates as advised and planned by the party leadership.

A senior party member in the knowledge of the situation informed that the chances of party MPs deviating from the party line would be minimal as the voting plan was devised in such a fashion that those deviating from the party line would be exposed and consequently would be shunted out from the party. He said that prime minister during successive meetings with party MPs had made it loud and clear to all that there would be no room for turncoats in the party and those found breaching the party discipline would be shown the door.

Rejecting the impression of breach in the party line in Punjab owing to mass-scale resentment within the party MPs toward the leadership, he said that under the voting plan devised by the party leadership each group in the Punjab Assembly was assigned a candidate and they would only vote for him on general seat. While under the same pattern the voters for women and technocrat seats are divided in groups, so it would become difficult for the MPAs to vote for candidates other than the party nominees as they would easily be pointed out. It was due to this foolproof strategy and trust in their party MPs that both prime minister and Punjab chief minister would be leaving for official visit to Saudi Arabia just a day before the polling for Senate elections, the party leader who preferred not to be named argued.

To a question he ruled out any breach in the party ranks from Punjab and was confident that all the 11 seats for Senate elections from Punjab would be bagged by ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz). When asked about the party’s performance in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa he said that the party would surely be winning a general seat from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. However, he was not sure how party would perform in Balochistan as according to him things were a bit complex there but sounded optimistic about PML-N candidates’ victory in support of its allies.