Senate of Pakistan

Senate elections are scheduled for next month and have already set the political arena of Pakistan ablaze with all the speculations, strategies and the infamous horse trading, which serves as the trademark of our upper house. However, this time, the stakes of political parties, especially PML-N are pretty high, yet they still remain unclear.

The apex court’s decision regarding the election act 2017 has left PML-N shell-shocked and in disarray. The in-house ‘coup’ on their mandate in Balochistan Assembly had lulled them to believe that some of the ‘existential threats’ have been dodged.

However, if the Raiwind duo had little idea of what was coming next, they would have nominated their Gullu Butts the ones who could go to any extent if their Quaid demanded so. Nawaz nominated all acceptable goody-goodies for the establishment may be, the ball left PML-Ns court and there it was, Nawaz Sharif is no longer the party head.

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Options are extremely limited for the ruling party, whether to delay the senate electoral process or continue on the be-heist of these “Azad Umeedwars”. If PMLN sticks to the “Panch log” narrative and continues to act as the defenders of the rotten democracy in place. They may proceed with independent candidates, then all is in jeopardy as nothing can be said about the candidates and the side they support in the near future. The ruling party is left awestruck and one has to ‘marvel’ at the timing of the “historic” decision. Only time will now tell what cards Nawaz has in his hand and how he plays them as the ball is in his court now. If he still wins over both the houses, then it will be a political masterstroke, given the circumstances.

The PTI episode stands still and Imran Khan seems to be enjoying the current scenario with a full-throttle attempt to capitalize on court rulings. However, the pressure is mounting on him, allegations regarding his biases have formulated multiple factions within the party, particularly cash cow favouritism stemming up from Bani Gala. MQM has already broken up into many factions over one Senate candidate and both the groups are now fighting over the very identity of the party. It’s somewhat sad to see one of the most disciplined parties being rattled by these elections.

The one person who seems to be in control is Asif Ali Zardari. Despite the blame that he was the architect behind the change in Balochistan Government, he still holds the iron grip over his PPP and looks set to win the seats as promised by the number game. The king of diplomacy sits firmly behind the driving wheel and his tactics would have a crucial impact on the general elections as well, despite the poor performance in Punjab. As is with other smaller parties, they are looking forward to cash on the horse-trading politics, which is at its peak at the moment.

The political temperature is rising with each day and will certainly have a huge impact on the upcoming general elections. For now, grab on to your seats and marvel at the “Game of Thrones”.

-Muhammad Owais

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