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ISLAMABAD: A day after facing a humiliating yet crushing defeat at the hands of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in July 17th by-polls in Punjab, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) “troika” – Nawaz Sharif, Asif Zardari and Maulana Fazlur Rehman – drifted into panic mode and made hasty phone calls to each other on Monday amid reports that the PML-N leadership is considering not to field Hamza Shehbaz in the election of chief minister Punjab on July 22 to avoid an imminent defeat.

The sources in the ruling PML-N told Business Recorder that the party was considering taking part in the chief minister’s election on July 22 but it would nominate anyone else from the party against Pervaiz Elahi as it had become clear that the party had failed to secure a simple majority to retain the CM slot.

They said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also floated the idea to dissolve the Punjab Assembly but Zardari, the PPP co-chairman, opposed the idea, saying the election for chief minister should take place in light of the Supreme Court orders.

They said Nawaz Sharif, Asif Zardari, and Maulana Fazlur Rehman agreed that a detailed plan of action would be adopted in consultation with the other allies.

The trio reviewed the results of the Punjab by-polls and discussed the future strategy of the coalition government in Punjab and the Centre.

Bilawal summons an emergency CEC meeting

Before the by-polls, the PTI and the PML-Q had already jointly attained the strength of 173 (163 of PTI and 10 of PML-Q). Now, with 15 additional seats, this strength has reached 188, whereas, the figure for simple majority stands at 186. This means the PTI and the PML-Q have crossed that benchmark. One independent MPA will likely be part of the new ruling coalition.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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