Counting of votes in Senate elections begins
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It’s only member in the Lower House of the Parliament Abdul Akbar Chitrali did not cast his vote while the remaining 340 MNA’s exercised their right.
Polling in three provincial assemblies – Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan – also came to an end and counting of votes began.
Zardari gets ballot paper twice
Zardari’s first ballot paper got wasted and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has issued a second ballot paper.
Zardari asked the presiding officer to issue him another ballot paper as due to the trembling of his hand he made a mistake on his first ballot paper and stamped it wrongly.
Earlier, the voting to elect 37 members of the Upper House of the Parliament, Senate, was started in the National Assembly as well as three provincial assemblies with all eyes on the contest between PTI’s Dr Hafeez Shaikh and PDM’s Yousaf Raza Gilani at the Centre.
In the Federal Capital, a one-to-one contest between Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is underway for a general seat while PTI’s Fauzia Arshad and PML-N’s Farzana Kausar would contest for a woman’s seat.
Opposition’s top figures Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Shehbaz Sharif, Khawaja Asif, Khursheed Shah and Ali Wazir were all present in the National Assembly to cast their votes.
The ruling PTI has the support of 181 members in the Lower House of the Parliament while the Opposition’s strength is 160 with both their candidates hopeful of scoring a victory.
PM casts vote
Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in the National Assembly around noon and cast his vote. The PTI members welcomed the Leader of the House by thumping their desks.
Not astrologer or saint to predict winner: Shehbaz
Opposition leader in National Assembly and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif said that every member will cast vote as per his conscience and it is the responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to ensure transparency
Shehbaz said members will express their conscience through ballot.
Answering a question about how much he was hopeful for the success, the PML-N president replied, “Allah Almighty knows, I am neither an astrologer nor a saint to make a prediction.”
He said the worst performance of the government is in front of the whole world.
Bilawal says govt is ‘tense’
On the other hand, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said, “If your opponents try to stop the elections one night before the polls and try to disqualify your candidate, then it shows that the government is tense.”
Bilawal said, “If PDM takes one more vote even it would be a bonus. We have exposed the government that their own MNAs are afraid of them.”
Bilawal also met PPP stalwart Khurshed Shah in the National Assembly.
Gilani ‘already won’
Talking to the media outside the Parliament on Wednesday morning, PDM candidate and former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani declared that he has already won the Senate election from Islamabad.
He was replying to a question as to how much hopeful he is about the Senate election he is contesting from Islamabad.
Khaqan Abbasi 110% sure
Talking to newsmen outside the Parliament House, PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said he was 110 percent sure that Yousaf Raza Gilani will be triumphant in the Senate elections.
He said Gilani will be a winner morally as well as by votes.
Responding to a question about a leaked video, Khaqan Abbasi said there are five or six videos which video you are talking about.
Sh Rashid 120% sure
Talking to newsmen in Islamabad, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid claimed that he was 120 percent sure that the PTI will win the Senate elections.
“We are all united and no one is getting away from the party,” he said, adding today Imran Khan’s candidate Dr Hafeez Shaikh is winning.
Vawda sees humiliation for Opposition
Faisal Vawda told newsmen that PDM candidate Yousaf Raza Gilani is going to face a humiliation in the elections. “The PPP would be so embarrassed that they will elect Gilani senator by removing a sitting member of the Upper House of the Parliament,” he claimed.
Voting under way
First among the MNAs to cast votes were Faisal Vawda, Shafiq Arain, Omar Ayub, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Naveed Qamar, Shagufta Jumani, Munazza Hassan, Amir Dogar, Raja Riaz, Amir Mahmood Kayani, Amir Magsi, Amjad Niazi, Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Dr Shazia Soomro, Shahida Akhtar Ali, Sajida Begum, Naveed Jeeva, Musarrat Rafiq and Shaneela Raut.
Three provincial assemblies and the National Assembly will elect 37 senators as the Punjab Assembly had already elected 11 senators unopposed.
Twelve candidates each from Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) while 11 from Sindh and two from federal capital would be elected senators.
Unopposed in Punjab
Those elected unopposed in Punjab are 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 the women seats.
In Balochistan, 32 candidates are vying for 12 seats, including 16 for seven general seats and four for two technocrat seats.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 11 candidates are 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 in the race – 10 for seven general seats, four for two technocrats seats and three for the two women’s seats.
A total of 37 senators — 12 each from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, 11 from Sindh and two from Islamabad – will be elected today.
Out of total membership of 104 in Upper House at present, three seats are lying vacant in Senate due to death of PML-N Parliamentary leader Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan, resignation of ANP Senator Sitara Ayaz and non-assumption of the office by Ishaq Dar after being elected as senator.
The Senate of Pakistan at present consists of 104 members and elections to fill seats in the Senate allocated to each province are being held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.
The Senate is not subject to dissolution, but the term of its members is six years. Half of the Senate members retire after every three years and new ones are elected to replace them.
However, the Constitution (Twenty-fifth Amendment) has abolished eight FATA seats, reducing the total number of seats in Senate from 104 to 96. However, the senators elected in 2015 and in 2018 – prior to the enactment of 25th amendment – were to continue their respective terms till 2021 and 2024. Former FATA senators used to be elected by the 12 FATA members of the National Assembly. However, there will not be an election on the FATA seats in 2021. Four FATA senators are retiring after completing their terms on March 11, 2021. There will not be an election for these four seats and they will cease to exist, bringing the total number of Senate members to 100 after March 2021 elections.
Among the 52 Senators retiring on March 11, 2021, 14 Senators belong to PML-N including Agha Shahzaib Durrani, Ayesha Raza Farooq, Chaudhary Tanvir Khan, Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi, Lt. General (R) Salahuddin Tirmizi, Lt. General Abdul Qayyum HI (M) Retd, Muhammad Javed Abbasi, Najma Hameed, Pervaiz Rasheed, Prof. Sajid Mir, Rahila Magsi Raja Muhammad Zafar-ul-Haq, Saleem Zia and Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan Nasar. One seat (15th seat) had fallen vacant due to death of PML-N Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan.
Seven PPPP senators completing their term in 2021 include Abdul Rehman Malik, Farooq Hamid Naek, Gianchand, Islamuddin Shaikh, Saleem Mandviwalla (Deputy Chairman Senate), Sassui Palijo and Sherry Rehman.
Likewise, seven PTI senators would including Brig. (R) John Kenneth Williams, Liaqat Khan Tarakai, Mohsin Aziz, Nauman Wazir Khattak, Samina Saeed, Syed Shibli Faraz, and Zeeshan Khanzada would complete their term on March 11, 2021.
Six independent senators retiring in 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 including Khushbakht Shujat, Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh, Muhammad Ali Khan Saif and Nighat Mirza would also complete their term on March 11, 2021. Four senators from BAP getting retired are Manzoor Ahmed, Muhammad Khalid Bizenjo, Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti and Nusrat Shaheen.
Two NP senators including Dr Ashok Kumar and Mir Kabeer Ahmed Muhammad Shahi, two PkMAP senators including Gul Bashra, Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar and two JUI-F Senators including Molana Atta Ur Rehman, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri would complete their term.
Similarly, JI Senator Siraj ul Haq, BNP-M Senator Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini would also complete their term. An ANP Senator Sitara Ayaz from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has already resigned from the Senate membership during last month and would contest the Senate election now on general seat from Balochistan.
It is pertinent to mention here that ECP has directed all the Chief Secretaries and the Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to ensure presence of every member of National or Provincial Assembly in its custody, at their designated polling stations for casting their votes on the polling day on March 3.
The commission has issued directives while exercising powers under the Articles of the Constitution as Article 220 of the Constitution read with Section 5 of the Elections Act, 2017 provides that it shall be the duty of all executive authorities in the Federation and in the Provinces to assist the Chief Election Commissioner and the Election Commission in the discharge of his or their functions.
Ali Gilani’s video
Taking notice of video of Ali Gilani, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said that it will start an investigation on merit of the footage, an ECP spokesperson said.
Earlier, leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) demanded the ECP for initiating an investigation into such a video clip showing Ali Gilani destroying the transparency and fairness of Senate polls.
They also asked the ECP to disqualify the contesting candidate of Senate Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani for involvement of his son in such wrongdoing.