ISLAMABAD -  As the deadline of the Election Commission of Pakistan to submit nomination papers for all four provinces for the upcoming Senate elections ended on Thursday, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf said that it would challenge the nomination of Ishaq Dar as PML-N candidate from Punjab.

PTI Spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry said that the party had decided to challenge nomination papers of former finance minister Ishaq Dar and other PML-N candidates “who did not meet the required qualification for March 3 Senate elections.” He questioned how Dar could qualify for upcoming election of the Upper House of the Parliament when he was absconding from an accountability court in graft cases and was living in self-exile.

Fawad Chaudhry said that PTI Chairman Imran Khan had given the responsibility to senior party leaders including Chaudhary Mohammad Sarwar and Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed in this regard. “PTI maintains that Ishaq Dar has been involved in money laundering. It is utterly shameful to learn that former finance minister, absconding from courts in graft cases, will contest the  Senate elections.” He added: “PML-N leadership should be ashamed of themselves for nominating an accused like Ishaq Dar for Senate elections.”

Separately, PTI at the last moment nominated its two candidates for Punjab and one for the Islamabad Capital Territory for the Senate election.

The parliamentary board of PTI issued tickets to Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, former governor Punjab and central party leader, on a general seat of Senate from Punjab and Andleeb Abbas, another senior party leader, on a women seat from the province.

A statement issued by PTI said that the party had also nominated Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry, PTI’s provincial president of Punjab chapter, on a technocrat seat for ICT.

It is likely that the PML-N will win 11 seats from Punjab out of total 12 seats of Senate from the province as the party had a majority of 309 members out of the total 371 members house of the Punjab Assembly. PTI could only manage to win one seat if it developed an understanding with other opposition parties as well got the support of some PML-N dissidents.

PTI has 30 members in Punjab Assembly, PPP and PML-Q have eight each, independent MPAs (members of provincial assembly) are five and PML-Zia three while Pakistan National Muslim League, Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and Bahawalpur National Awami Party have one seat each.

Under the formula for the Senate election, 52 votes of the MPAs would be required to elect each senator on general seat from the Punjab Assembly.