LAHORE  -  Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf is gearing up to get simple majority in Punjab Assembly as the by-polls on 13 provincial seats are due to be held on October 14.

Out of the 13 vacant seats, eight were vacated by its candidates while elections were postponed on two seats due to sudden death of candidates just before the July 25 vote. The rest of three seats belong to the PML-N.

As per present party position in Punjab Assembly, the PTI has 175 members in a House of 371 closely followed by the PML-N which has 162 seats. The PTI needs 11 more seats to form a simple majority though it also enjoys the support of 10 PML-Q members besides two independents and one member of Rahe-Haq party. The PPP has seven members in the Assembly but they abstained from voting at the time of election for the slots of chief minister, the speaker and the deputy speaker.         

Elections were postponed in PP-87 (Mianwali) and PP-103 (Faisalabad) following the death of Pakistan Justice and Democratic Party candidate Ahmed Khan and an independent candidate Mirza Mughal respectively. The latter had committed suicide after his two sons and their wives started campaigning against him.

A provincial seat (PP-3) from Attock fell vacant after PTI’s candidate Major (R) Tahir Sadiq chose to keep a national seat he had won from the same district. Information Minister Fawad Ch also preferred to retain a national seat leaving his provincial seat (PP-27-Jhelum) up for grab in a by-election. Rai Murtaza Iqbal of the PTI vacated PP-201 (Sahiwal) as he was also elected on a national seat. Punjab Finance Minister Makhdum Jawan Bakht was elected on two provincial seats from R.Y Khan district, who had to vacate one provincial seat (PP-261).Likewise, two provincial seats- PP-292 (DG Khan)and PP-272 (Muzaffargarh)-fell vacant after PTI’s candidates Sardar Muhammad Khan Leghari and Makhdum Basit Sultan opted to keep their National Assembly seats respectively. Two PTI’s members-elect, Malik Ghulam Abbass (PP-222-Multan) and Muhammad Tariq Dareshak (PP-296-Rajanpur) died just after the elections before taking oath of their Assembly membership.

PTI is highly likely to win these eight seats while it is also eyeing the two seats where elections were postponed.

The PML-N is likely to retain its three provincial seats, PP-118 (T.T Singh), PP-164 (Lahore) and PP-165 (Lahore) it had won in July elections.  The latter two were vacated by PML-N President Mian Mohammad Shehbaz Sharif while the other one fell vacant after Ch Khalid Javid opted to take oath on a national seat.

Besides winning rest of the 10 seats, the PTI will have to grab one seat from the PML-N to reach the figure of 186. Considering that a ruling party always stands better of chance of winning a by-election, the PTI can achieve this target.

 

 

MUBASHIR HASSAN