FM Dar triumphs as polling for Senate elections concludes

In Local
April 02, 2024


The polling for 19 vacant Senate seats in the National and provincial assemblies concluded on Tuesday with dozens contesting for the spots.

The polling was conducted in the provincial legislatures of Sindh and Punjab. Senators from Balochistan were elected unopposed. A total of 18 senators were elected unopposed including 11 from Balochistan.

The polling commenced at 9am and concluded at 4pm.

Polling did not commence in the K-P Assembly and the process was postponed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) “on account of delay of oaths of reserved seats”.

The ECP issued a notification of poll postponement and referred to its earlier March order in which it rejected a petition from the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) seeking the allocation of reserved seats.

Islamabad

In a significant win, Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar secured victory on the Islamabad technocrat seat by garnering 222 votes against SIC’s Raja Ansar Mahmood’s 81 votes. A total of 310 members cast their votes, with 7 votes rejected.

Similarly, on the general seat, Rana Mahmoodul Hassan of the Pakistan Peoples Party emerged victorious with 224 votes, while his competitor, Farzand Ali Shah of SIC, received 79 votes out of a total of 310 votes cast, with 7 votes rejected.

Sindh

For the 12 seats in the Senate from Sindh, 20 candidates were in the running. On the women’s seats, PPP’s Quratulain Marri secured 59 votes, and Rubina Qaimkhani garnered 58 votes to become senators.

On the technocrat seat, PPP’s Sarmed Ali obtained 59 votes, and Barrister Zamir Ghumro secured 58 votes.

Punjab

Out of 12 vacant seats in Punjab, candidates ran unopposed on seven seats, while elections took place for the remaining five.

From Lahore, Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb secured victory on the technocrat seat with 128 votes, and Petroleum Minister Musadiq Malik obtained 121 votes.

On the Women’s seats, Anusha Rehman and Bushra Butt of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz emerged victorious, with Anusha Rehman obtaining 125 votes and Bushra securing 123 votes. Meanwhile, Sanam Javaid Khan of the SIC managed to garner 102 votes, with six votes rejected.

To ensure a seamless electoral process, the ECP has deployed several measures, including the printing of ballot papers in different colours – white for general seats, green for technocrats, pink for women, and yellow for minority representation.

Moreover, the logistical groundwork was laid out, with the transportation of election materials to returning officers completed.

These officers have issued the final roster of candidates vying for the 48 vacant Senate seats, encompassing 29 general, eight women, nine technocrats/Ulema, and two non-Muslim slots.

Number game

According to calculations, PTI boasts 20 members presently, with the potential to snag seven more from their Khyber Pakhtunkhwa stronghold. This will hand the party impressive 27 senators.

Meanwhile, if every MNA and MPA toes the party line, the PPP faces smooth sailing, anticipated to secure 10 to 11 seats from Sindh, plus one each from K-P and Islamabad.

With 13 senators in their pocket, the PPP eyes a significant boost, poised to nab 12 to 13 more seats, landing them the runner-up spot with 25 to 26 members in the revamped Senate.

Read PTI to take ‘oath of loyalty’ from MPs for Senate polls

Not to be outdone, the PML-N, presently with 13 senators, eyes an expansion, eyeing seven more seats — five from Punjab and one each from K-P and Islamabad. This projected haul would secure their status as the Senate’s third powerhouse.

Interestingly, the Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakhtunkhwa Mili Awami Party, and PML-Functional face a Senate exodus as their members retire in March. With their Senate presence dwindling to zero, they’ve opted out of the race, aligning with the prevailing assembly dynamics.

In Punjab, after purportedly striking a deal under the table, the nation’s three heavyweight parties – the PML-N, PPP, and PTI – have secured a clean sweep in the upper house of parliament. All seven contenders vying for the province’s general seats have coasted to victory unchallenged.

Out of this fortunate seven, four champions ride the PML-N’s chariot to success, while the remaining two owe their triumph to the PTI-Sunni Ittehad Council alliance.

With the stage seemingly set, three contenders are left to duke it out for the two technocrat seats following the graceful exit of Mustafa Ramday from the fray.

Meanwhile, a spirited competition is expected from Sindh as 11 contenders battle for the coveted seven general seats from the province. Furthermore, the stakes are high with three aspirants vying for the two reserved seats for women, while four eager hopefuls vie for the two technocrat/ulema slots.

Adding to the mix, two candidates throw their hats into the ring for the lone seat reserved for minorities.

Sindh’s political landscape takes an interesting turn with Faisal Vawda, reportedly backed by powerful circles, throwing his hat into the ring as an independent contender.

With the PPP’s stronghold evident in the provincial assembly, a strategic move to support Vawda could potentially secure at least five out of the seven general seats, leaving one seat for MQM-P.

However, should all proceed as planned, the PPP appears poised to sweep the remaining five seats from the province – securing both women and technocrat slots, alongside the minority representation.

On the other hand, The PTI-ruled K-P braces for an enthralling showdown as the MPAs gear up to cast their votes, determining the fate of 11 senators, with seven seats up for grabs in the general category.

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