Pakistan MPAs and MNAs have polled their votes to elect members of the Senate.
In the National Assembly, 340 members polled their votes. One hundred and sixty seven members cast their ballots in the Sindh Assembly and 65 in Balochistan Assembly.
Eight PTI MPAs have yet to cast their votes in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.
The doors of the assemblies have been closed. Only the members present inside the assembly hall would be able to cast their ballots, the Election Commission of Pakistan said.
Abdul Qadir, an independent candidate from Balochistan, has been declared successful in the Senate election. He was backed by the PTI and BAP.
JUI-F’s Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri and BNP-M’s Qasim Ronjho have been elected senators from Balochistan.
PPP’s Palwasha Khan and MQM-P’s Khalida Atyeb have been declared successful from Sindh.
ANP’s Arbab Umar Farooq and BAP candidates Sarfaraz Bugti, Prince Agha Omar Ahmadzai and Manzoor Kakar have been elected senators from Balochistan.
PDM’s Yousuf Raza Gillani has been elected senator from Islamabad. Gillani’s victory came as a major setback for the government.
PM’s aide Shahbaz Gill said the PTI will challenge the election result. At least seven votes were rejected and PTI’s Hafeez Shaikh lost the election by five votes, Gill noted. PTI’s Fauzia Arshad has won the other Senate seat in Islamabad.
PTI’s Sania Nihstar and Falak Naz Chitrali have been elected senators from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. MQM-P’s Faisal Sabzwari has been elected senator from Sindh.
Polling started at 9am and continued till 5pm. The Senate election is held through an indirect ballot as MPAs and MNAs vote for the candidates nominated by their parties.
On Wednesday, the first vote was cast by PTI’s Shafiq Arain followed by Faisal Vawda. Prime Minister Imran Khan and NA Speaker Asad Qaiser have voted as well.
Two hundred lawmakers have cast their votes so far.
The election is being held because 52 or almost half of Pakistan’s senators have completed their six-year terms, out of this four Fata senators won’t be replaced as the former tribal districts have been merged with KP. This leaves us with 48 seats. The polling is being held for 37 seats as 11 Punjab senators have been elected unopposed.
All senators are not elected at the same time and the elections for the remaining senators will be held in 2024.
Each provincial assembly gets to elect 23 senators each because the Senate has to have an equal number of people from each province. The National Assembly MNAs get to vote for two senators from the federal capital, Islamabad to be sent to the Senate.
Here’s a breakdown of the seats up for grabs:
- Punjab Assembly: 11
- Sindh Assembly: 11
- KP Assembly: 12
- Balochistan Assembly: 12
- Islamabad: 2
Senate seats are reserved for women, minorities, and technocrats. The rest are called general seats.
On March 1, the Supreme Court gave its opinion on elections and said that it will be conducted through a secret ballot but the votes should be traceable. It instructed the electoral body to ensure that the elections are conducted “honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with the law and that corrupt practices are guarded against”. The commission must “take all available measures including utilising technologies to fulfil the solemn constitutional duty,” the judgement added.
The ECP has formed a three-member committee, comprising special secretary, IT director-general and Punjab member, to ensure the use of technology during the Senate election. It may also take assistance from NADRA, FIA, and the Ministry of IT.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf presented a bill in the National Assembly and then a presidential ordinance was also passed to ensure that the Senate elections are held through an open ballot. The party said that it wanted to ensure that the elections are “transparent” and “fair”. The elections in the past have been marred with allegations of horse-trading and parliamentarians selling their votes. In 2018, the PTI expelled 20 members for selling the votes during the 2018 Senate Elections.
List of candidates
There are two candidates contesting for the elections from the capital city, PTI’s Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and PPP’s Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani.
PML-N’s Farzana Kausar and PTI’s Fozia Arshad are contesting for the women’s seats.
Ten candidates are contesting elections in Sindh. Here are the names of those contesting for the general seat:
- Pir Sadaruddin Shah [GDA]
- Taj Haider [PPP]
- Jam Mahtab Hussain Dahar [PPP}
- Dost Ali Jessar [PPP]
- Saleem Mandviwalla [PPP]
- Syed Faisal Ali Subzwari [MQM(P)]
- Shahadat Awan [PPP]
- Sheher Bano Sherry Rehman [PPP]
- Sadiq Ali Memon [PPP]
- Faisal Vawda [PTI]
The leaders contesting for technocrat/Aalim seats are:
- Saifullah Abro [PTI]
- Farood Hamid Naek [PPP]
- Karim Ahmed Khawaja [PPP]
- Yasha Ullah Khan [TLP]
Candidates for the Women’s seat:
- Palwasha Mohammad Zai Khan [PPP]
- Khalida Ateeb [MQM(P)]
- Rukhsana Parveen [PPP]
Here’s the list of candidates standing for the General seat in the Senate election:
- Taj Muhammad Afridi [BAP]
- Zeeshan Khan Zada [PTI]
- Syed Shibli Faraz [PTI]
- Abbas Afridi [PML-N]
- Atta-ur-Rehman [JIP]
- Atta-ur-Rehman [JUIP]
- Faisal Saleem Rehman [PTI]
- Liaqat Khan Tarakai [PTI]
- Mohsin Aziz [PTI]
- Muhammad Tariq Khattak [JUIP]
- Hidayatullah Khan [ANP]
Leaders standing for the Technocrats/Ulema seat
- Dost Muhammad Khan [PTI]
- Shukat Jamal Amirzadah [ANP]
- Farhat Ullah Babar [PPP]
- Muhammad Iqbal Khalil [JIP]
- Muhammad Humayun Mohmand [PTI]
Candidates for the Women’s seat:
- Tasleem Begum [ANP]
- Sania Nishtar [PTI]
- Inayat Begum [JIP]
- Falak Naz [PTI]
- Naeema Kishwar Khan [JUIP]
Seats for Non-Muslim candidates:
- Asif Bhatti [ANP]
- Javed Gill [JIP]
- Ranjeet Singh [JUIP]
- Gurdeep Singh [PTI]
Punjab senators elected unopposed
All candidates contesting the Senate election from Punjab have been elected unopposed, the ECP confirmed on February 26.
- General seats: PML-N’s Afnanullah Khan, Sajid Mir and Irfanul Haq, PTI’s Aoun Abbas, Aijaz Chaudhry, Saifullah Niazi and PML-Q’s Kamil Ali Agha.
- Technocrat seats: PML-N’s Azam Nazir Tarar and PTI’s Barrister Ali Zafar.
- Women seats: PTI’s Dr Zarqa and PML-N’s Sadia Abbasi.
What do Senators do?
A senator has roughly the same perks and privileges as an MNA.
In a sense, their real power lies in balancing out voting on making new laws. New laws or changes to the biggest law of the land, the Constitution, can be put forward by any house of elected representatives now. If the National Assembly comes up with a law, it can vote to pass it but it then has to send it to be approved by the Senate. And vice versa for the Senate, which has to send new laws or changes to the National Assembly after its house passes it.
The National Assembly tends to be Punjab-strong (that is why it is informally called the House of the Federation). But because the Senate has an equal number of senators from each province there is a higher chance of them either rejecting or asking for changes to, say, any new law that may put other provinces at a disadvantage. It is a system of checks and balances to prevent power from being abused.
They have no financial powers over the national budget as such. All they can do is make recommendations to the National Assembly—which can be ignored.
They have no say in the election of a prime minister. That is done by the National Assembly.
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