With only 4 days to go, political experts in Islamabad believe that the contest in the July 25 polls is between the jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s PMLN and cricketer turned politician Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. Imran Khan who alleged that the 2013 elections were rigged, has a better chance to win if his party performs in Punjab, which elects more than half of the member of parliament, as per political experts.
Imran’s Tehreek-e-Insaf is already slated to take a big chunk out of Pakistan People Party’s Sindh province, which is considered its bastion since the 1980s.
Punjab is considered the bastion of jailed Nawaz Sharif’s PMLN. The party, even after the conviction of Sharif and his daughter, is very powerful in the central and northern Punjab, from where more than 95 National Assembly seats are up for grabs, as per a report in Dawn.
It is said that any party that dominates in Punjab usually controls the National Assembly and gets the post of the prime minister.
Imran’s party is said to be stronger in south Punjab which elects at least 45 lawmakers for the parliament. Iman also holds sway in the northwest province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which it ruled from 2013 to 2014 and this time could expand its tally.
Nawaz’s PMLN is also likely to retain seats from the Hazara region of Pakhtunkhwa that has always been an extension of Punjab politics.
In Punjab, there have been large-scale defections from PMLN to PTI but still, it’s believed that it won’t be a smooth sailing for PTI as the political polarisation seems to have intensified after Sharif’s conviction and imprisonment.
“There is no indication of the PML-N losing ground in its bastion despite some high-profile defections and alleged meddling of the ‘angels’ persuading candidates to switch sides,” Zahid Hussain, a political author and journalist based in Islamabad was quoted by Dawn as saying.