Members of the government and the opposition both expressed optimism on Wednesday over chances of victory in the Senate elections that are currently underway in the national and provincial assemblies.
Polling for 37 seats of the Senate is underway under the supervision of the Election Commission of Pakistan as a total of 78 candidates contest from Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Islamabad.
Voting is taking place through secret ballots after a long-drawn open ballot controversy kept the ruling and opposition parties engaged in a war of words as well as a legal battle before the much-awaited Supreme Court decision.
On Wednesday, Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain took to Twitter and said the PTI would "easily win" the Senate election held in Islamabad. He predicted that Adviser to the Prime Minister for Finance Hafeez Shaikh would secure "more than 180 votes" while all the opposition parties combined would get around 155.
"After this election, the PTI will be the biggest party in the upper house."
Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar also said in a tweet before casting his vote, that "it will be clearly known whose senators will be elected in the evening". He said this could be seen from the difference between the mood of the members of the ruling coalition and members of the opposition.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir Shehryar Khan Afridi, meanwhile, claimed that today "was the start of a new era to close doors on [the] use of black money to enter [the] democratic system", adding that it would lead to development and prosperity under the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
"With the sun setting today, these crook[ed] and corrupt politicians would also sink," said Afridi.
Senator Faisal Javed, while speaking to the media in Islamabad, also claimed that despite all the efforts of the opposition, when the result of the Senate polls arrived, "victory will be of justice and [Prime Minister] Imran Khan".
'We feel very good'
PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said he was feeling "very good" while responding to reporters' questions on his expectations for the results of the Senate elections.
He said the government which "should have won this election with its eyes closed is now worried that it is losing and going [away]". He said this was explained by the government allegedly trying to delay the election the night before or attempting to disqualify the opposition's candidates.
"So we understand that the PDM (Pakistan Democratic Movement) is successful," said Bilawal, adding that even one more vote than the PDM's members' strength would be considered a "bonus".
"We have shown this nation that the PTI's own members of the provincial legislatures and the National Assembly are as discontent with the government as the common person and we will together cast them out."
PML-N President and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, meanwhile, said that "every member will have to vote according to their conscience."
"I understand that the government's bad performance is in front of the whole world," he said in response to questions from reporters on what hopes he had for the results of the Senate polls.