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Candidates backed by Pakistan’s ruling party win Senate polls

The local media, citing unofficial and provisional results after polling ended at 4 pm, reported that 15 candidates backed by the PML-N had been elected.

world Updated: Mar 03, 2018 23:27 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times, Islamabad
Pakistan,Senate elections,PML-N
Policemen walk past in front of the Pakistan Parliament House. (Reuters file)

Candidates backed by former premier Nawaz Sharif's PML-N party enjoyed a clear lead in the 52 seats up for grabs in elections to the Senate on Saturday, putting it in position to take control of the upper house of Parliament with its allies.

The local media, citing unofficial and provisional results after polling ended at 4 pm, reported that 15 candidates backed by the PML-N had been elected.

The opposition Pakistan People’s Party did better than expected and was set to bag a majority of the seats in its traditional stronghold of Sindh province, while Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was set to win seats in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces.

Twenty-three PML-N candidates contested the elections as independents after a Supreme Court judgement nullified all decisions made by former party chief Sharif, including issuance of tickets for the polls, after his removal from the office of prime minister.

A total of 133 candidates had vied for the Senate seats in the elections, which started at 9 am and continued smoothly till closing time. The polling was held in the national and four provincial assemblies, whose members are eligible to vote in the Senate elections.

The Senate - the upper house of Parliament - has a total of 104 lawmakers. Each senator serves a term of six years, barring resignation, disqualification or other extraordinary circumstances. They are not all elected at the same time - half are elected in one election, and the other half three years later.

In 2018, 52 senators (who were elected in 2012) are slated to retire. The other 52 were elected in 2015 and will retire in 2021. Of the 52 seats for which elections were held on Saturday, 46 will be filled by the four provincial assemblies, two by the National Assembly, and four by lawmakers representing the tribal areas.

Of the candidates in the running, 20 were looking to secure one of 12 seats from Punjab, 33 contesting for 12 seats from Sindh, 26 for 11 seats from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 25 for 11 seats from Balochistan, 24 for four seats from the tribal areas and five for two seats in the federal capital of Islamabad.

Independent candidates backed by the PML-N won six general seats from the Punjab assembly. The party's candidates swept the seats reserved for technocrats, women and minorities in Punjab. PML-N backed candidates Mushahid Hussain Syed and Asad Junejo also won both seats in Islamabad.

Four independent candidates were elected to the Senate from the tribal areas. PTI candidate Mehar Taj Roghani was elected to a women's seat from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assembly, while the other women's seat was taken by PPP's Rubina Khalid.

PTI's Azam Swati and PML-N's Dilawar Khan were elected to two technocrat seats for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa while PTI-backed cleric Samiul Haq of Darul Uloom Haqqani could bag only three votes.

The PPP led the charts in Sindh, with outgoing Senate chairman Raza Rabbani, Sikandar Mendhro, Mola Bakhsh Chandio and Anwar Laal Deen being elected. Rukhsana Zuberi, also a PPP candidate, was elected on a technocrat seat.

First Published: Mar 03, 2018 22:50 IST