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Pakistan: Sindh, Punjab to decide their chief ministers today

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Lahore | February 26, 2024 12:25:39 PM IST
Sindh and Punjab are poised to decide on their Chief Ministers on Monday, marking a significant development in the anticipated ruling coalition between the Pakistan People''s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) at the federal level, Dawn reported.

The political landscape is rife with expectations, as the PTI-backed candidates in the 371-member Punjab Assembly promise a potential ''surprise.''

In Punjab, PML-N Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif is the party''s candidate for the chief minister slot and against her is Rana Aftab Ahmed of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC). Meanwhile, in Sindh PPP''s Murad Ali Shah will contend Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) candidate Ali Khurshidi amid a boycott by the PTI and the JI, according to Dawn.

In Punjab, Maryam Nawaz Sharif, the Senior Vice President of PML-N, emerges as the party''s contender for the coveted Chief Minister position. Her competitor is Rana Aftab Ahmed of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC). Meanwhile, in Sindh, the PPP''s Murad Ali Shah is set to face off against Ali Khurshidi, the candidate from Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P).

The political chessboard in Punjab took an unexpected turn as the SIC initially nominated Mian Aslam Iqbal for the Chief Minister slot but replaced him with Rana Aftab from Faisalabad.

A former PPP member, Iqbal had not taken the oath as Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA), fearing arrest by the Punjab police. Rana Aftab, expressing optimism, hinted at a potential surprise in the upcoming election but lamented the restriction on SIC MPAs entering the Punjab Assembly premises.

Maryam Nawaz Sharif''s victory seems imminent, given the party''s nominee for the Speaker''s office securing 224 votes against SIC''s 98 in the previous election. Confident of her victory, Maryam is already engaged in consultations for her cabinet and development agenda.

The bureaucracy, including the chief secretary and inspector-general of police, has initiated briefings for her on various affairs. Notably, she will become the 30th Chief Minister of Punjab and the first woman to lead the province.

In Sindh, the PTI and Jamaat-i-Islami have announced a boycott of the Chief Minister''s election proceedings. The PPP has nominated Murad Ali Shah, and the MQM-P has fielded Ali Khurshidi. The PTI alleges that Shah sought their support but asserts its decision to boycott, aiming to challenge what it perceives as the theft of the people''s mandate. The JI, with one MPA in the Sindh Assembly, aligns with the PTI in boycotting the process.

The political dynamics in Sindh and Punjab hold historical significance, with a lineage of leaders governing Punjab since Pakistan''s inception in 1947. Maryam Nawaz Sharif''s potential leadership as the first woman Chief Minister in Punjab adds a distinct chapter to this legacy.

The Sindh Assembly is gearing up for the Chief Ministerial election, with the PPP''s Murad Ali Shah leading the race against MQM-P''s Ali Khurshidi. The PTI and JI''s decision to boycott reflects their stance against what they perceive as a compromised electoral process.

As the day unfolds, the political landscape in Sindh and Punjab is set for transformative shifts, with the PPP and PML-N vying for key leadership positions, Dawn reported. (ANI)

 
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