ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has announced the election — being held on December 20 — on Senate seat from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vacated by Ayub Afridi from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) apparently to create space for Prime Minister’s Finance Advisor Shaukat Tarin in the upper house of the Parliament.
According to the election schedule issued Monday, the polling on the vacant seat would take place in KP Assembly (Peshawar) on December 20.
The date of filing nominations: November 30-December 2, publication of names of nominated candidates: November 3, scrutiny of nominations: December 6, appeals against acceptance/rejection of nominations: December 8, last date for disposal of appeals by the tribunal: December 10, publication of revised list of candidates: December 11 and last date of withdrawal of candidature: December 13.
In 145-seat KP Assembly, PTI has large majority with 94 seats.
Afridi, who has been appointed as Prime Minister’s Adviser on Overseas Pakistanis, stepped down from Senate weeks ago but his resignation was accepted by Chairman Senate last week.
Business Recorder reported on the fifth of this month that federal government was planning to get Tarin elected as a senator in order to appoint him as Finance Minister subsequent to the joint session of Parliament. The joint session was held on November 17.
The delay in Tarin’s election was premised on the fact that the government needed to vacate one Senate seat before nominating Tarin as a candidate, an action tantamount to losing one vote in the joint session.
As the government had planned to hold voting on crucial legislation related to Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and internet voting (i-voting) in Parliament’s joint session, it did not want to take the risk of losing a vote in Senate, Business Recorder reliably learnt.
Last month, reports first surfaced that Afridi resigned from the Senate and that he would be assigned the portfolio of PM’s advisor.
A source close to Afridi said that he tendered his handwritten resignation to the chairman Senate few weeks ago but it was not verified by the chairman Senate who was in Balochistan then, reportedly to lobby for new Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo.
It was then decided to take up the issue of Tarin’s elevation to Senate after Parliament’s joint session, according to sources.
Tarin’s elevation as Member of Parliament (MP) is mandatory if the government wants to reappoint him as Finance Minister. He was appointed by Prime Minister Imran Khan as Finance Minister on April 16, this year, and his six-month term started the next day, April 17, after he sworn in, in accordance with Article 91 (9) of the Constitution of Pakistan.
This article reads, “A minister, who, for any period of six consecutive months, is not a member of the National Assembly, shall, at the expiration of that period, cease to be a minister and shall not before the dissolution of that assembly be again appointed a minister unless he is elected a member of that assembly.”
Tarin’s ministerial term expired on October 16. Since then, he is performing duties as PM’s Finance Advisor.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021