GUJRAT: The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) may demand a Senate seat for its nominee from the senior coalition partner, the PTI, in return for its votes for the ruling party’s nominees in Punjab.

Sources told Dawn on Thursday that the PML-Q was already engaged with the Punjab leadership of the PTI to get a Senate seat however, the party had not yet talked to the top leadership of the PTI.

The elections for half of the Senate seats are likely to be held in March after retirement of senators for which the election commission has yet to announce a schedule.

“The PML- Q is weighing the option of fielding its own candidate on a general seat from Punjab as the party has almost completed internal discussions on the matter,” a senior party leader told Dawn.

Parvez may bargain for seat with PTI

He said the party had almost decided to nominate information secretary Kamil Ali Agha as its candidate for the Senate election. He had already served as a senator twice. The party decided to rely on Mr Agha who is a close confidante of Punjab Assembly Speaker Parvez Elahi.

Another party leader said Parvez Elahi also enjoyed personal links with the opposition lawmakers in the Punjab Assembly and he had gained confidence of both the PML-N and the PPP for his election of speaker and the last elections of Senate.

The PML-Q currently has 10 members in the Punjab Assembly and five in the National Assembly and is considered a key ally of the PTI in the Punjab government. It wants to utilise its position for enhancing its influence in parliament by getting one of its leaders elected to the upper house.

The name of former federal minister Chaudhry Wajahat Hussain, the younger brother of former prime minister Shujaat Hussain, was also discussed for the candidature of Senate election.

Sources in the party said Wajahat Hussain declined to contest for the Senate seat.

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2021

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