The coalition partners PTI and MQM-P and the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) decided not to participate in the elections on a vacant Senate seat taking place in the Sindh Assembly on Wednesday.
It is learnt that the PTI decided to stay away from election process after GDA “categorically” refused to vote for its candidate.
The Senate seat had fallen vacant after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) nullified the notification of PTI leader Faisal Vawda’s election as a senator after disqualifying him for life due to his dual nationality.
After the PTI’s boycott, PPP’s provincial president Nisar Khuhro seems to be a strong candidate to win as it is the ruling party in Sindh with 99 seats in the 168-member provincial assembly.
Khuhro also serves as the Adviser to the Chief Minister on Works and Services and Universities and Boards with the status of a provincial minister.
The PTI had fielded its provincial vice-president Agha Arsalan for the vacant seat. Of 69 members belonging to opposition parties in Sindh, PTI leads the tally with 30 followed by the MQM-P with 21, GDA 14, Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) three and Jamaat-e-Islami has only one MP in the provincial assembly.
The MQM-P, who had announced not to participate in the Senate election on Tuesday, issued an official notification for the decision following a Rabita Committee meeting headed by its Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui.
On Tuesday night, PTI Sindh President and Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi in a tweet said that the PTI and its allies are boycotting the polls.
“Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah also disqualified on dual nationality and his case is still pending with the Supreme Court,” Zaidi gave the reason for boycotting the Senate polls.
The minister also requested the higher judiciary to hear CM Shah’s dual nationality case.
On February 19, MQM-P’s former MNA Khawaja Sohail Mansoor, who submitted the nomination papers for Senate polls, had announced his resignation in favour of PPP’s candidate Khuhro in the Senate elections.
However, the MQM-P had said that the party is not contesting the Senate polls and it was Masnoor’s own decision to submit the nomination papers and withdraw them in PPP’s favour.
The polling will continue till 4 pm without a break. Four candidates have been contesting the election.