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July 30, 2018

Race on for Punjab CM’s post: Numbers game becomes a challenge for PML-N, PTI

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July 30, 2018

LAHORE: While the race is on for chief ministership of the biggest province of Pakistan, meeting the numbers game has become a real challenge for both the contending parties, the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Sources believe the PML-N’s chances of forming the provincial government in Punjab have become really hard in the changed scenario, as the PML-Q has decided to go along the PTI and PPP’s conditional support has vanished into the thin air. However, the Sharif’s party is still struggling to get the Independents on board.

Out of the total 297 general seats in Punjab Assembly, the simple majority of 50 per cent would rest with the party, which would have the backing of 149 MPAs-elect.

On July 25 election day, the PML-N won 127 seats, while the PTI stood second with 123 seats. The PML-Q managed to secure seven seats, while the PPP got six.

PML-N leader Ayaz Sadiq had contacted the PML-Q leadership for negotiations and was told that the matter would be discussed later on. However, after their meetings with the PTI leadership, the PML-Q threw its weight behind Imran Khan, pushing the PTI’s tally to 130 members.

The PPP, however, played its cards smartly. Sources said the PPP told the PML-N during talks that if they (N-League) would manage to garner the support of 143 MPAs-elect, its six members would also join in. However, on the other hand, they conveyed to the PML-Q that if it gets a deal done with the PTI with a strong and powerful position for Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, they would extend support to him. That means the PTI is also likely to get six seats of the PPP, along with the PML-Q’s seven MPAs.

Along with the candidates of political parties, 27 Independents also won the Punjab Assembly seats. In the current situation, their support has become crucial for forming the provincial government.

These Independent winners include: PP-7 Raja Sagheer Ahmed, PP-10 Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, PP-39 Liaqat Ali, PP-46 Syed Saeedul Hassan, PP-65 Hameeda Mian, PP-67 Sajid Ahmad Khan, PP-83 Malik Ghulam Rasool Sangha, PP-89 Ameer Muhammad Khan, PP-90 Saeed Akbar Khan, PP-93 Taimoor Ali Lali, PP-97 Muhammad Ajmal, PP-106 Umar Farooq, PP-124 Muhammad Taimoor Khan, PP-125 Faisal Hayat, PP-127 Mehar Muhammad Aslam, PP-184 Syeda Maimanat Mohsin, PP-203 Syed Khawar Ali Shah, PP-204 Syed Hussain Jahanian Gardezi, PP-217 Muhammad Salman, PP-237 Fida Hussain, PP-238 Shaukat Ali Lalika, PP-275 Khurram Sohail Khan Leghari, P-277 Mian Alamdar Abbas Qureshi, PP-280 Malik Ahmad Ali Aulakh, PP-282, Muhammad Tahir, PP-284 Syed Rafaqat Ali Gilani, and PP-288 Mohsin Atta Khan Khosa.

However, nine of them had already announced their support for the PTI, including Muhammad Salman Naeem from Multan, Tahir Randhawa (PP-280) and Rafaqat Ali Gilani (PP-284) from Layyah, Basit Sultan Bukhari (PP-272), Alamdar Abbas (PP-277) and Abdul Hayee (PP-270) from Muzaffargarh, Hussain Jahanian Gardezi (PP-289 and Khawar Ali Shah (PP-203) from Khanewal, and Hanif Pitafi (PP-289) from Dera Ghazi Khan and Muhammad Basharat Randhawa (PP 282).

It shows the PTI is likely to secure the support of 145 MPAs-elect, which is just four short of making the provincial government. While the PML-N claimed that they had support of eight Independent, they did not share their names. However, if their claims are true, they have support of 135 members and they still need 14 more members to form the government.

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