News

Ruling coalition wins Senate elections

ECP defers voting in KP Assembly after MPAs-elect on reserved seats were not sworn in: Total 59 candidates competing for 30 Senate seats: Mohsin Naqvi among 18 candidates elected unopposed

By News Desk

April 2, 2024 10:32 AM


TV grab

Pakistan's ruling coalition seized a majority in Senate polls on Tuesday, unofficial results showed, after the election commission delayed the vote in a province controlled by loyalists of jailed ex-premier Imran Khan.

Polls for half the Senate's 96 seats are held every three years, elected by lawmakers from Pakistan's four provincial assemblies and the lower house of parliament.

Early results returned by provincial election commissions showed the ruling coalition had taken most of the seats that were up for grabs.

Eighteen senators from Punjab and Balochistan stood unopposed.

The results will be confirmed by the central election commission in the coming days.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the second-largest coalition partner, are expected to appoint the leader of the Senate, after securing the most seats.

So far they have not played a major role in the government, led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party, taking only the presidential role for party patriarch Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of assassinated premier Benazir Bhutto.

The vote in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Assembly was postponed due to a delay in reserved seats for women and religious minorities being appointed, the election commission said.

"The Constitution has been violated multiple times in this country," chief minister of the province Ali Amin Gandapur told media.

"I want to make it clear that in this province we will fight, like our leader."

Khan has been jailed since August in a series of cases he claims were designed to stop him from contesting February's national elections, which were marred by vote-rigging allegations.

Results

NA 

Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar won on a technocrat seat from Islamabad, garnering 222 votes with Sunni Ittehad Council’s (SIC) Raja Ansar Mehmood coming in second with 81.

Meanwhile, PPP’s Rana Mehmoodul Hassan secured 224 votes to win the general seat in Islamabad while PTI’s Farzand Hussain Shah garnered 79 votes.

Punjab

Muhammad Aurangzeb and Dr Musadik Malik were elected on the technocrat seat from the Punjab Assembly. Finance Minister Aurangzeb got 128 votes and Malik 121 votes. Dr Yasmin Rashid of the opposition PTI got 106 votes. 

PML-N’s Anusha Rehman and Bushra Anjum were successful on two seats reserved for women, garnering 125 and 123 votes, respectively. PML-N’s Khalil Tahir Sindhu was successful on a minority seat.

Sindh

In Sindh, the ruling PPP secured 10 of the 12 seats up for grabs. The remaining two were won by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and an independent candidate.

On general seats, PPP’s Ashraf Ali Jatoi (22 votes), Dost Ali Jessar (21 votes), Kazim Ali Shah (21 votes), Masroor Ahsan (21 votes), Nadeem Bhutto (21 votes) were successful.

MQM-P’s Amir Chishti (21 votes) and independent Faisal Vawda (21 votes) also won from a general seat. A day earlier, the PPP had decided to withdraw one of its candidates to support Vawda.

On the technocrat seats, PPP’s Zamir Ghumro (58 votes) and Sarmad Ali (57 votes) were successful. PPP’s Rubina Saadat Qaimkhani (57 votes) and Quratulain Marri (58 votes) won on two seats reserved for women.

PPP’s Poonjo Bheel (117 votes) was also successful on a minority seat.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has postponed voting for Senate elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly over the issue of swearing-in of MPAs-elect on reserved seats but the polling continued in national, Punjab and Sindh assemblies on Tuesday.

The provincial election commissioner earlier sought guidance from the chief election commissioner after the Opposition members in the KP Assembly sought a halt to the voting.

Though all the arrangements were in place for the voting in KP Assembly, the polling did not take place after the standoff over the oath-taking of MPAs-elect on reserved seats.

After receiving advice from the ECP, Provincial Election Commissioner Shamshad Khan announced the decision to defer the vote.

Earlier, the Opposition in KP Assembly has filed a petition in the ECP seeking postponement of the Senate polls in the province.

The ECP had already hinted at postponing the Senate elections for KP if speaker Babar Saleem Swati kept on delaying the oath-taking.

Voting begins

As many as 59 candidates are vying for 30 seats as voting in the Senate elections has started simultaneously at the National Assembly, Punjab Assembly and Sindh Assembly at 9:00 in the morning and will continue until 4:00 PM.

The elections for the Upper House of the Parliament in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly could not begin due to a deadlock between the provincial government and the Opposition over the oath-taking of MPAs-elect on the reserved seats.

As all the arrangements were in place for voting in Senate elections, the Opposition members in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly submitted an application to the Provincial Election Commission, seeking the postponement of Senate elections in the province.

Opposition member Ahmed Karim Kundi told Provincial Election Commissioner that 25 opposition members have not taken oath of their office; therefore Senate elections in KP should be deferred till the settlement of this issue.

After the filing of the application, Provincial Election Commissioner has contacted the Chief Election Commissioner and conveyed the message and sought advice for further proceedings.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92jipWUE6Q0

Just before the start of assembly session on Tuesday, KP CM Ali Amin Gandapur chaired a meeting of the parliamentary party.

He said there was no room for members in the party who are indulged in horse-trading.

After the meeting, the KP CM went to the speaker’s chamber and discussed with him the writ petition filed in the Peshawar High Court over the reserved seats issue.

18 elected unopposed

According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Interior Minister Syed Mohsin Naqvi was among 18 candidates who had already been elected as senators unopposed.

The ECP has said that elections are also being held for two seats reserved for minorities. Giving further details, it has said that elections are being held for 11 Senate seats of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 12 seats of Sindh, five of Punjab and two of the federal capital Islamabad. It has informed that total four candidates are competing for two seats of Islamabad.

PPP’s Rana Mehmoodul Hassan and PML-N’s Ishaq Dar are considered strong candidates for the general and technocrat seats of Islamabad, respectively, while independent candidate Syed Farzand Hussain Shah and Ansar Kiani are also vying for these seats.

The ECP has said that the halls of the National Assembly, Punjab Assembly, KP Assembly and Sindh Assembly have turned into polling stations for the polling for Senate elections.   

The commission has said that ballot papers of four colours will be used for casting votes; white-coloured ballot papers will be used for voting for the general seats, green-coloured ballot papers for the technocrat seats, pink ballot papers for women’s seats and yellow for minority seats. 

As many as 19 candidates are competing for 12 Senate seats from Sindh as voting has begun in the provincial assembly.   

Similarly, voting has also started in the Punjab Assembly for five Senate seats. Out of these five seats, two are for women, two for technocrats and one for minorities.

The PML-N has fielded Anusha Rehman and Bushra Anjum Butt as its candidates for women’s seats, while the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) has fielded Sanam Javed.

Likewise, the PML-N has nominated Muhammad Aurangzeb and Mussadiq Malik for the seats of technocrats, while the SIC’s candidate is Dr. Yasmin Rashid.

For the minority seat, the PML-N has fielded Khalil Tahir Sindhu, while the SIC has nominated Asif Ishfaq as its candidate.

PML-N has total 218 MPAs in the House, while its allies PML-Q has 10 and the PPP has 14 seats.

In all the ruling alliance in the Punjab Assembly enjoys the support of total 246 MPAs.  

On the other hand, the strength of the SIC MPAs stands at 107.

Gohar says PTI-backed MNAs now part of SIC

PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar said that the PTI-backed independent candidates who were elected to the assemblies after the February 8 general elections were no more independents as they were now part of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC). “Therefore, the National Assembly speaker is wrong when he addresses us as independents,” he said.  

He further said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) should not have postponed elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

Dr Ibadullah says KP govt to blame for election postponement

Opposition Leader in the KP Assembly Dr. Ibadullah lamented that while the Senate elections were being held in other provinces of the country, these had been postponed in KP just because of the stubbornness on the part of the ruling party. “It is unfortunate that these people have no respect for the laws of the land and the constitution,” he said, and accused the assembly speaker and the provincial Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur of acting like ‘tigers’ of Imran Khan.

Omar Ayub Khan says people stand by Imran Khan

PTI-SIC leader Omar Ayub Khan said that despite so much repression, people in Pakistan stood by former prime minister and ex-PTI chairman Imran Khan and would continue to support him.

Speaking in the National Assembly (NA) during voting in the Senate elections, he said that the PTI planned to issue a ‘white paper’ soon in order to expose rigging in the general elections held on February 8. “As per Form 45, PTI-SIC is the leading party in the NA with 180 seats,” he said, adding, “On the contrary, those in the government are the product of Form 47.”

Musadik Malik acknowledges PPP’s ‘unconditional’ support

Federal Minister for Petroleum and PML-N leader Musadik Malik said that both the PML-N and the PPP are getting along nicely.  Speaking in the Punjab Assembly, Musadik said that so far the PPP’s support had been ‘unconditional’ and was still ‘unconditional’.

He congratulated the people of Pakistan that after today’s elections, both the houses, the National Assembly and the Senate, would be complete and legislation would begin. “The country is passing through difficult times which has made law-making necessary,” he said, adding, “This is the beauty of democracy.”

He went on to say that it was the government’s duty to enact laws while the opposition was supposed to point out flaws in the legislation and the government policies.

Azma Bukhari sees PML-N winning all seats from Punjab

PML-N leader Azman Bukhari said that members of the ruling alliance were casting their votes enthusiastically, while the opposition was nowhere to be seen.

Speaking in the Punjab Assembly, she claimed that the PML-N would win all Senate seats from the province by a wide margin.

Azma said that it was unfortunate that there was no rule of law in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) as members of the opposition in the provincial assembly had not been administered the oath as yet. 

Referring to the PTI, she said that the party which had filed a reference against Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Qazi Faez Isa, when it was in power, was now feeling concerned about the independence of judiciary and the supremacy of the constitution.

She was of the view that the KP government was more concerned about what was happening in Punjab rather than looking after its own affairs and improving its governance. “PTI’s Barrister Saif spreads lies about the Punjab government,” Azma said, adding, “For his information, Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz had talked about purchasing an air ambulance and not a helicopter.”

Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui stresses need for improving justice system

Senior MQM-P leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui said that there was a need to improve the justice system in the country.

He said he had no idea how the situation would unfold following the postponement of Senate elections in KP.

 

Reporters: Amir Shehzad, Aajiz Jamali, Usman Khan, Rozeena Ali, Amir Shahzad and Hassan Ali


News Desk


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