LAHORE – An independent candidate supported by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) bagged victory in the by-election on a Senate seat from Punjab vacated owing to the disqualification of Senator Nihal Hashmi began on Thursday (today) in Punjab Assembly.
According to unofficial results, PML-N’s Dr Asad Ashraf obtained 298 votes while Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Dr Zarqa Suharwardy Taimur received only 38 votes.
The Election Commission of Pakistan during the polling rejected 12 votes, while four provincial lawmakers remained absent.
شاباش مسلم لیگ ن، شاباش ! آپ نے سازش کو ناکام بنا کر نئی تاریخ رقم کی اور پاکستان کی سیاست کو ایک نئی سمت دی۔ ہمیں فخر ہے آپ پر 👏🏼👏🏼 🐅🐅
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) March 1, 2018
Out of the 368 seats in the provincial assembly, votes were cast by only 346 members. The 300 lawmakers of PML-N cast their votes while other nine remained absent with two votes rejected.
Eight MPAs belonging to Pakistan Peoples Party did not take part in the polling.
Security has been beefed up in the vicinity of assembly building and no one was allowed to carry mobile phone inside the secretariat.
The total strength of PTI in the House is 34 which includes 30 of its own lawmakers and four others who joined the party after winning as independent candidates.
Interestingly, Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid with 8 seats each and Jamaat-e-Islami with a strength of 1 in the House of 371 have not pitched candidates for the slot.
Currently, three seats are vacant in the Punjab Assembly, either as a result of death or disqualification of the members. In this way, the PA is comprised of 368 voters.
Talking to media on Wednesday, Dr Zarqa stated that Lahore High Court had issued notices to Dr Asad as well as Election Commission for giving go-ahead to the PML-N candidate and allowing him to contest the polls in an independent capacity.
Who is Who?
Dr Asad Ashraf, the PML-N backed candidate, is the brother of late Javed Asharf, a staunch party loyalist who lost his life on April 4, 1996 in a clash with police in Tehreek-e-Nijat against the then PPP government.
Dr Asad Ashraf, having completed his MBBS from Allama Iqbal Medical College in 1986, served as a consultant on cardiology at Services Hospital. He joined PML-N formally after the tragic assassination of his brother Javed Ashraf who was also the campaign in-charge of Shahbaz Sharif from NA-96.
After the PML-N government came to power in 1997, Dr Asad Ashraf was appointed as an adviser to CM and served in the capacity till the blood-less coup staged by Musharraf on October 12, 1999.
In the 2002 general elections, Dr Asad Ashraf won his seat while defeating PPP and PML-Q candidates after a cut-throat contest.
In Punjab Assembly, he also served as Deputy Parliamentary leader of PML-N with Rana Sana Ullah. He also served as chief organiser PML-N Lahore and in 2008 general elections, Dr Asad Ashraf once again won comfortably while emerging victorious against former MPA Qaiser Amin Butt and others.
He later headed taskforce on dengue and polio under Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and also remained as an active campaigner in the recent NA-120 by-polls from where Begum Kulsoom Nawaz trounced PTI’s Yasmin Rashid.
On the other hand, PTI’s candidate, Dr Zarqa is a famous dermatologist who joined the party upon her return from Dubai in 2010 and remained an active member of the party. She is currently associated with the media cell of PTI Punjab.
Before moving back to Lahore, she was President Medical Wing of Dubai Pakistan Association and currently also an examiner with the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. Besides, she has been on the faculty of Otago University, New Zealand and locally with Fatima Jinnah Medical College. She is also affiliated with Loreal Pakistan in an honorary capacity as an expert dermatologist, The News reported.
Nehal Hashmi’s Ouster
Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz Senator Nehal Hashmi was disqualified for five years by the apex court in the purview of his anti-judiciary speech made in May, last year.
The Supreme Court had also awarded one-month imprisonment to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Nehal Hashmi besides a fine of Rs50,000.
Nehal Hashmi’s Outrageous Speech
In a video that went viral on the internet shows a disgruntled Senator Nehal warning rivals and ‘some honourable officials associated with top institutions’ of dire consequences if they continued their concerns with the accountability of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
“Whoever is asking for accountability will retire tomorrow and we will deal with them,” insinuated Hashmi in a veiled threat to the top judiciary currently probing the ruling Sharif family in the backdrop of Panama papers.
Police arrest Nehal Hashmi from Supreme Court…
Posted by Daily Pakistan Global on Wednesday, January 31, 2018
“Those grilling… [be warned that] we will arrange the day of judgment for you.”
“You are making the life of the prime minister difficult. The Pakistani nation will make it difficult for you to live,” he added, without taking any names.