LAHORE: As the gene­ral elections approach, the PML-N has intensified its efforts to secure a str­ong foothold in south Punjab as well by relying on electables to boost its chances of forming the next government — a strategy that mirrors the party’s recent successful enga­ge­ment with several influential figures in Balochistan.

“Of the 46 National Assembly seats in the south, we have electables on some 35,” PML-N Punjab President Rana Sanaullah told a presser on Saturday. “We are feeling weak on 10 seats.”

Mr Sanaullah defended the practice of awarding party tickets to such politically influential people, str­essing that “electable” was not a swear word. It was a reality that the people trusted electables, he said.

In a post on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique also spoke highly of electables, insisting that “to form the government, crutches of electables are needed… and the PPP and PTI also do the same.”

Flanked by PML-N Punjab Information Secretary Azma Bokhari, Mr Sanaullah also claimed that his party would form the government with a simple majority.

‘PTI should not be allowed to run poll campaign’

Mr Sanaullah also castigated the PTI, questioning its eligibility to participate in the elections in the wake of the May 9 attacks.

“Shall a party that attacked military installations be allowed to take part in the polls? To me, it should not be allowed to do politics,” he said but added in the same breath that those who have distanced themselves from the May 9 events should be allowed to contest the polls.

Talking about the 103 PTI leaders and activists in military custody, Mr Sanaullah said they should apologise to the nation for “their sin” so that they might be pardoned.

Asked if the PML-N supremo was the new ladla (blue-eyed) of the establishment, Mr Sanaullah said Mr Sharif had been given the label “only because fake cases against PML-N [leaders] have been closed”.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2023

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