As the Senate elections draw ever closer, The Correspondent spoke with Fayaz-ul-Hasan Chohan in his office in the Punjab Assembly, asking his views on the Daska by-polls, Senate elections, and the alleged attack on PTI leader Haleem Adil Sheikh while in custody in Central Jail, Karachi.

Will the Daska elections will have an effect on the Senate elections?

Daska elections, or any other provincial by-elections, will have no impact on the Senate elections. However, we have won the Daska election by the grace of God. In 2018 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) had gotten 87,000 votes, while the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) contested alone and received 110,00 votes. This time around, PML-N, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), and Jammat Ulema-e-Islam- Fazal (JUI-F), all joined forces to contest the election and we beat them. We went from 87,000 votes to 116,000 votes; our popularity has increased manifold.

Furthermore, in the Senate elections from Punjab, we were slated to get six seats, while the PML-N was going to net one, but let me give you this breaking news, we will win all seven seats from Punjab in the Senate.

Does that mean the members from the PML-N are openly with you?

Of course, they are; 15 have openly joined us and rest will hopefully vote for us too.

If this is so, why is the PTI pushing for open balloting, there would have been more space to surprise the opposition in secret balloting?

Open balloting is just to make the process of election more transparent. It is not just us who want this, the so-called ‘Charter of Democracy’ – which I call a loot sharing scheme – between the PPP and PML-N also resolved that when either party is in power, they would change the electoral process to open balloting. They have this clause written down.

We are only taking that process forward, yet the opposition’s hypocrisy is on full display as they have now backed out from this promise.

The opposition claims that the change is being made just because the government needs it now       

We are not making this change for this election only; we are making the change for all future elections. We won’t be in power forever. Imran Khan and PTI are changing the electoral laws to permanently end the trading of billions in the Senate elections.

As the Minister in charge of prisons in Punjab, can you comment on the alleged attack on PTI leader Haleem Adil Sheikh in Karachi’s Central Jail? Is something like this possible?

I talked to Haleem Adil Shiekh in detail about three hours ago over the phone, as you know he is currently in the hospital. A snake was unleashed on him, over 50 to 60 miscreants belonging to Lyari gang war attacked him. No amount of condemnation is enough for the cruel and barbaric attitude of the ‘Zardari league’ and his party.

He is a opposition leader in Sindh. Under Sardar Usman Buzdar’s governance in Punjab, incarcerated opposition leaders are eating dumpukht, enjoying air-conditioned rooms, and are having a leisurely time. This is the difference between the government of PTI and the government of dacoits and thieves.   


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