ISLAMABAD    -   The Supreme Court’s decision to hold a re-election on the slot of the chief minister Punjab after by-elections in the province has intensified the importance of the ballot vote—leaving win-win situation for both Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz and Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf.

If re-elections for the chief executive of the Punjab were held on Friday before the by-elections according to Thursday’s verdict of the Lahore High Court, there was a high probability for Hamza Shehbaz Sharif to win the elections again because apparently he has the majority.  It is pertinent to mention here that the younger Sharif had secured 197 votes including 25 votes of the turncoats of PTI in the 371-member house and after excluding the votes of turncoats on court orders both PTI and PML-N lacks the majority.

But according to the LHC decision, if nobody in an assembly can secure a simple majority (186 votes) then the re-elections will be held under Article 130(4) of the constitution.

According to Article 130(4), in the second round of voting, a member will not require 186 votes but simply needs a majority of those “present and voting” to be elected the chief minister.

If elections were held under 130 (4), then circle concerned believed that it was impossible for PTI to oust Hamza Shehbaz in re-voting as some of its members were out of the country while in contrast PML-N had managed well and ensured the presence of its MPAs in Lahore. In case of a defeat again on the slot of CM, it was quite difficult for PTI to make an upset in the by-elections when there will be a ‘permanent’ chief minister to support PML-N in Punjab.

Therefore, the party rushed to the Supreme Court and prayed to give seven days for gathering its MPAs as well as tried hard to get directions for the Election Commission of Pakistan to notify its five new members on reserved seats for the women, which became vacant after the disqualification of PTI’s women turncoats on reserved seats.    However, the apex court did not vindicate PTI fully by allowing its requests but provided it an opportunity to go to the masses ‘freely’ by scheduling re-election of the CM on 22 July 2022—five days after the by-elections.

After the decision of the Supreme Court, where the PML-N has managed to secure the office of Punjab Chief Minister at least till the by-elections, now there will be an opportunity for PTI as well to mould the voters in its favour in the by-elections and get back the position by securing majority of seats in the by-elections.

The parties are in the run for 20 seats of the provincial assembly in by-elections that are going to be held on 17th July 2022.

A senior analyst, while talking to this scribe, commented that the ongoing tussle for power in the biggest province of the country from the last three months have been stopped by the apex court and sent the parties to the public to decide their fate.

“These are not just ordinary by-elections but it is a test of the popularity for both parties”, he said, adding; “the by-elections would set a trend for the next general elections, which are around the corner.”