Seven senators elected unopposed from Punjab

In Local
March 28, 2024



QUETTA/
LAHORE:

Seven candidates for general Senate seats in Punjab were elected unopposed on Wednesday after five others withdrew their candidature. Efforts were also underway for similar smooth sailing in Balochistan.

The elected candidates included five from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and two from the opposition. PML-N candidates are Pervez Rasheed, Talal Chaudhry, Nasir Mehmood Butt, Ahad Cheema, and Mohsin Naqvi, backed by the government.

The opposition’s candidates are Hamid Khan, a senior lawyer from the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), and Allama Raja Nasir Abbas Jafri, head of the Muttahida Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM).

Senate elections in Punjab were scheduled for April 2, where members of the provincial assembly (MPAs) were to elect seven senators for general seats, along with two seats each for women and technocrats, and one seat for non-Muslims.

On the general seats, 16 candidates filed the nomination papers. Among then the provincial election authorities rejected the papers of four candidates. However, from the remaining 12 candidates five withdrew their nomination papers.

Those who withdrew their nomination papers from both the treasury and the opposition sides were Waleed Iqbal, Umar Sarfraz Cheema, Shehzad Waseem, Ijaz Hussain Minhas and Musadiq Masood Malik. Additionally, Mustafa Ramday, who was contesting for a technocrat seat, also withdrew.

As a result, according to a spokesperson for the provincial election commission, the remaining seven candidates technically won their seats without competition. Now, elections will be held on April 2 for two women, two technocrat, and one minority seat.

In Balochistan, political parties in the provincial assembly are close to finalizing a consensus formula to ensure the unopposed election of all 11 senators from the province, according to sources within the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

“Negotiations are underway to facilitate a smooth allocation of Senate seats among key political stakeholders,” a source told The Express Tribune. Although no specific date was provided for reaching an agreement, the source indicated that a formal announcement is expected in the near future.

The sources further revealed that the distribution formula being negotiated in the province allocates three seats each to the PPP and the PML-N, two seats to the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), and one seat each to the National Party, the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), and the Awami National Party (ANP).

“This allocation reflects a concerted effort to accommodate various political interests within the province,” the source said. He indicated that significant step had been taken towards consensus-building among political parties in the province.

If the proposed formula was agreed by the relevant parties, it is expected that former caretaker prime minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar, who is contesting on behalf of BAP and supported by the JUI-F, would be elected senator unopposed.

This collaborative approach underscores a commitment to political stability, paving the way for a constructive and inclusive Senate.

As the electoral process unfolds, all eyes are on the forthcoming announcement, which is likely to write a new chapter in Balochistan’s political history.

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