pakistan
Thursday Mar 01 2018
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PML-N backed independent candidate wins Nehal Hashmi’s vacated Senate seat

LAHORE: PML-N's Dr. Asad Ashraf, running as an independent, won the by-election for a vacated Senate seat, according to unofficial results. 

The by-election for the Senate seat from Punjab was held at the Punjab Assembly. The election was held on the seat vacated by Nehal Hashmi, who was disqualified by the Supreme Court last month for committing contempt of court. 

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's (PML-N) Dr. Asad Ashraf, who was running as an independent candidate due to the Supreme Court's recent decision nullifying all actions taken by disqualified PML-N president Nawaz Sharif, was contesting against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)'s Dr Zarqa Taimur.

The Pakistan Peoples Party did not put up a candidate for the Senate by-poll. 

Maryam Nawaz, daughter of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif, tweeted the breakdown of PML-N voting in the provincial assembly, after the polling.

She said that there were total 311 PML-N members in the PA, from which 310 cast their votes. The number of valid votes was 298 and invalid were 12.

Maryam Nawaz while praising the party decorum said that every member voted for the party and turned down every kind of conspiracy.

"What did you get by taking away the party's name and identity," she said in one of her tweets.

During the voting process, the proceedings were briefly halted after the opposition members protested against the public display of vote by a treasury member. 

Before casting his vote, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif talked to the media and said the PML-N is united under its Quaid, Nawaz Sharif.  

"God willing we will win the upcoming general elections," the recently-appointed PML-N president said further. The polling concluded at 4pm. 

Talking to the media before entering the assembly premises, Dr. Ashraf, a former MPA from Lahore, said the lion [PML-N's electoral symbol] will win today, adding that the snatching of their symbol is unfair. 

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, who cast the first vote, told the media that the PML-N candidates were party members before and will remain so after the vote as well. 

"Those attempting to make the PML-N disappear [from the face of the Earth] will vanish themselves," he added. 

The Punjab Assembly has around 315 members on the treasury benches and around 53 in opposition, thus ensuring a certain win for the PML-N backed independent candidate.