ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Friday announced the names of their candidates - a good number of them are old faces while others consists of millionaires and billionaires - for March 03 Senate elections. The PTI which claims of ensuring merit also "succumbed" to the pressure from the "filthy rich" - prominent among them is Mohsin Aziz, an industrialist from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa who managed to get a ticket for another six-year term - in awarding Senate tickets.
Interestingly, Faisal Vawda - the minister for water resources - also managed to get a ticket for Senate in an apparent move to avoid the wrath of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), where a case is pending against him for concealing his dual nationality.
After becoming a senator, Vawda will quit his National Assembly seat which will prove to be like killing two birds with one stone, as he would get rid of the case against him in the ECP while his minister-ship will also be saved. In a tweet, the Minister for Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhry, said that the PTI has finalised the names of most of its nominees for the upcoming Senate election.
Shibli Faraz, the minister for information and broadcasting, who is also believed to be a potential candidate for the chairman Senate, also managed to get a ticket for the Senate for another six-year term, as he was set to retire on March 11.
According to Chaudhary, the list of candidates also include Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh - who will contest for a seat from Islamabad - and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar, one of the nominees from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Shaikh, who is not a member of the parliament, was previously an adviser to the premier on finance and was appointed as finance minister in December last year.
However, as per Article 91(9) of the Constitution, he cannot remain a minister for more than six months until he is elected to one of the houses.
Thus, he must be elected to the Senate this time around to continue as the finance minister after June.
Nishtar, who is part of Prime Minister Imran Khan's cabinet as a special assistant, is also not a member of parliament and therefore, ineligible to hold the position of a minister. Following is the complete list of the nominated candidates who have been announced so far, and the seats they will be contesting for.
Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh: Islamabad, Fauzia Arshad: Islamabad, Faisal Vawda: Sindh, Saifullah Niazi: Punjab, Dr Zarqa: Punjab, Barrister Ali Zafar: Punjab, Abdul Qadir: Balochistan, Shibli Faraz: Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Mohsin Azeez: Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Dost Mohammad: Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Sania Nishtar: Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Farzana: Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Saifullah Abro: technocrat. Ejaz Chaudhry and Zeeshan Khanzada have also been awarded tickets.
The names of other nominees will be announced later, Chaudhry said in his Twitter post. As many as 52 senators are set to retire - 50 percent of the 104-member house - on March 11 after completing their six-year tenure.
However, this time there will be no polling for the four seats of the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) after its merger with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.
Therefore, polling will be held to elect 48 senators - 12 each from the KP and Balochistan, 11 each from the Punjab and Sindh and two from Islamabad.
Polling will be held to elect seven members on general seats, two women and two technocrats in the four provinces.
Besides this, the election on one minority seat each in the KP and Balochistan will also be conducted.
The ruling party is set to become the single largest party in the Senate, after the upcoming elections, but it will certainly not be able to gain control of the upper house of the Parliament and will still have to rely on its allies and opposition parties even for carrying out simple legislation.
The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) which is set to emerge as the second majority party in the Senate also finalised the following party candidates.
Sindh: Jam Mehtab Dehar, Taj Haider, Saleem Mandviwala Sherry Rehman, Shahdat Awan, while on technocrat seat, it has given tickets to Farooq Naek, Shahdat Awan and Karim Khawaja. The party also announced the names of Palwasha Khan, Khairul-nisa Mughal and Rukhsana Shah as covering candidates.
From Punjab, Azeemul Haq Minhas, will contest the election on general seat, while from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the party has proposed the name of Farhatullah Babar as a joint candidate with the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).
From Islamabad, the party has proposed Yousuf Raza Gillani - a former prime minister - as a joint candidate of the PDM, but it is yet to be confirmed, whether the PDM agrees to jointly contest the Senate elections.
However, the PDM chief, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, also said that they have no objection over the name of Gillani as a joint candidate of the PDM. The parliamentary board of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) also finalised the party ticket holders for the upcoming Senate elections.
In a statement, Marriyum Aurangzeb said the party had short-listed five names.
Advocate Azam Nazir Tarrar will represent the PML-N on the technocrat seat in Punjab.
The party approved Pervez Rashid, Mushahidullah Khan and Professor Sajid Mir who will contest from the party ticket on the general seats. On women's seat Barrister Sadia Abbasi will represent the PML-N, she said. She said the PML-N KP will announce the names of the final contestants after consultation at the party's provincial-level organisation.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021