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National

July 30, 2018

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PTI’s numerical strength may be affected in National Assembly

PESHAWAR: The numerical strength of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the National Assembly may be affected if four of its leaders from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa opted to retain their provincial assembly seats.

According to the final result issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), PTI emerged as the single largest political party in the National Assembly with 116 members. The 342-member National Assembly has 60 women reserved seats and 10 for minorities.

A political party is supposed to secure 137 seats of the National Assembly to get simple majority to form the government. Former chief minister Pervez Khattak won two provincial assembly seats and one in the National Assembly from Nowshera in the July 25 general election.

In the 2013 general election, he had secured one National Assembly and one provincial assembly seat. He had opted to retain the provincial assembly seat after he was nominated as the chief minister.

Though the PTI leadership has yet to decide the future chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pervez Khattak has started lobbying to get the coveted post. In a recent statement he was quoted as saying that he had been told by the PTI central leadership that he will be again be the chief minister.

The ECP has withheld the official results of Pervez Khattak for using abusive language against his rivals during the election campaign. Asad Qaiser, Speaker of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, has also secured one National Assembly and one provincial assembly seat in Swabi.

During the election campaign, Asad Qaiser had claimed he would be the next chief minister if the PTI was voted to power. Dr Haider Ali Khan, who was elected to provincial assembly for third consecutive time, defeated Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) provincial President Amir Muqam running for NA-2 in Swat.

Dr Haider Ali, former student leader and a scion of a noble political family in Swat, told The News that he was personally interested in the provincial assembly but would abide by the party decision whether to retain the National Assembly or the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly seat. "We have to retain our National Assembly seats as the PTI still needs more members to secure majority and form the government at the centre," he opined.

Former provincial minister Sardar Ali Amin Gandapur retained his provincial assembly seat. He also defeated Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman by a big margin on NA-38 Dera Ismail Khan. Now he has to quit one of the constituencies he had won in 2018 general election. In a statement, he challenged Maulana Fazlur Rehman that he was ready for both recounting and re-election.

Former provincial minister Mohammad Atif Khan was also awarded tickets for National Assembly and provincial assembly seats in Mardan but he lost narrowly to former chief minister and Awami National Party (ANP) candidate Ameer Haider Hoti on NA-21 Mardan. However, he managed to win his provincial assembly seat.

Former provincial minister Shah Farman and ex-advisor to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister, Dr Amjad Ali, were elected from two provincial assembly constituencies from Peshawar and Swat, respectively. They have to give up one seat.

Interestingly, almost all the winners of two or more seats are aspirants for the chief minister office of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. They have started lobbying to get the prized office. However, the PTI needs them in the National Assembly to maintain its majority in the lower house of the Parliament.

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