ISLAMABAD: All eyes are on Senate elections as three provincial assemblies and the National Assembly are set to elect 37 senators today (Wednesday), while the Punjab Assembly has already elected 11 senators unopposed.
The secret ballot for Senate election will start at 9am which would end at 5pm without interruption.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said that Senate polls will be held as per past practice – secret ballot.
Twelve seats each from Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa while 11 from Sindh and two from federal capital would elect senators.
Eleven candidates from Punjab have already been elected unopposed, who include Kamil Agha, Saifullah Nyazee, Afnanullah Khan, Aon Abbas, Ejaz Chaudhry, Sajid Mir, and Irfanul Haq Siddiqui on general seats, Azam Tarar and Syed Ali Zafar on the technocrat seats, and Zarqa Suharwardy and Saadia Abbasi on seats reserved for women.
In federal capital, a neck and neck competition between Finance Minister Dr Hafeez Sheikh and former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani is expected for a general seat, while the PTI's Fauzia Arshad and PML-N's Farzana Kausar would contest for a woman's seat.
In Balochistan, 32 candidates would run for 12 seats, including 16 for seven general seats, one for minorities, and four for two technocrat seats.
In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 11 candidates remained in the contest for seven general seats, five candidates for two technocrats' seats, five for the women's seats and four for a non-Muslim seat.
In Sindh, a total of 17 candidates are contesting elections for seven general seats, four for two technocrats’ seats, and three for two women's seats.
Among the 52 senators retiring on March 11, 2021, 14 senators belong to the PML-N - Agha Shahzaib Durrani, Ayesha Raza Farooq, Chaudhary Tanvir Khan, Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi, Lt-General Salahuddin Tirmizi (retired), Lt-General Abdul Qayyum (retired), Muhammad Javed Abbasi, Najma Hameed, Pervaiz Rasheed, Prof Sajid Mir, Rahila Magsi, Raja Muhammad Zafarul Haq, Saleem Zia, and Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan Nasar. One seat (15th seat) had fallen vacant due to the death of PML-N Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan. Seven PPPP senators, completing their term in 2021 are Rehman Malik, Farooq Naek, Gianchand, Islamuddin Shaikh, Saleem Mandviwalla, Sassui Palijo and Sherry Rehman. Besides, seven PTI senators who are going to retire are Brig John Williams (retired), Liaqat Tarakai, Mohsin Aziz, Nauman Wazir Khattak, Samina Saeed, Shibli Faraz, and Zeeshan Khanzada.
Six independent senators retiring on March 11, 2021 are Aurangzeb Khan, Dr Asad Ashraf, Haji Momin Khan Afridi, Mir Muhammad Yousaf Badini, Sajjad Hussain Turi, and Taj Muhammad Afridi.
Four MQM senators - Khushbakht Shujat, Ateeq Shaikh, Muhammad Ali Saif, and Nighat Mirza – would also complete their terms on March 11, 2021.
Four senators from Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) who would be retiring are Manzoor Ahmed, Muhammad Khalid Bizenjo, Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti, and Nusrat Shaheen.
Two senators belonging to the National Party, who are going to retire, are Dr Ashok Kumar and Mir Kabeer Shahi, while two PkMAP senators - Gul Bashra, Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar - and two JUI-F senators - Maulana Attaur Rehman, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri - will also complete their terms.
Similarly, JI Senator Sirajul Haq, BNP-M Senator Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini will also complete their terms.
An ANP Senator, Sitara Ayaz, from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has already resigned from the Senate membership last month, and would contest the Senate election now on a general seat from Balochistan.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021