ISLAMABAD: Senate elections for 48 seats is being held today in National and four Provincial Assemblies. Members of National Assembly and Members of all the Provincial Assemblies will elect 48 senators out of 125 contesting candidates to replace the members of Senate, retiring on March 11.
Pooling would be held from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Four candidates from Sindh have already been elected unopposed includes Farooq Hamid Naek (PPP) and Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif (MQM) on technocrat seats and Sassui Palijo (PPP) and Nighat Mirza (MQM) were elected against reserved seats for women.
Election Commission of Pakistan has already released the list of final contesting candidates. 125 candidates are contesting against 48 seats. 84 candidates are contesting for General Seats, 21 for Seats Reserved for Women, 18 for Seats Reserved for Ulema/Technocrats and 8 for Seats Reserved for Non-Muslims.
Meanwhile, a presidential ordinance has been issued under which the members from FATA will be entitled to cast only one vote. According to the notification, the previous presidential ordinance of 2002 that allowed four votes to each FATA members has been withdrawn.
The Election Commission of Pakistan has already notified to the Members of National Assembly and Members of all the Provincial Assemblies that according to section 226 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan 1973, elections will be held through secret ballot. In this regard, the Commission has directed that the Returning Officers for Senate elections shall ensure that the secrecy of the ballot is not violated through any mode whatsoever by the voters and has also imposed ban upon Members of the National Assembly and all Provincial Assemblies for taking with them mobile phone or any other electronic device, through which picture can be taken, in the premises of the polling that are Assembly Chamber by the Members of the National Assembly from FATAs and Members of the Provincial Assemblies.
According to experts, ruling party PML-N and the main opposition party PPP will secure almost equal representation in the Senate. The PML-N is expected to make the day in Punjab by bagging all 11 seats because of clear majority. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf is appearing first time to make representation in Senate and can also make the history by securing some seats in the upper house.
Senators who will retire on March 11 includes 21 of Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarian (PPP-P), 6 of Awami National Party (ANP), 1 of Pakhtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP), 3 of Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM), 3 of Jamiatul-Ulema-e-Islam (F) (JUI-F), 2 of Balochistan National Party Awami (BNP-A), 1 of National Party (NP), 8 of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), 1 of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q), and 6 Independent (IND).