The Pakistan Peoples Party is reportedly in a fix over who to nominate as a replacement of Sherry Rehman in the lower house of parliament.
Former MNA Rehman was appointed as ambassador to Washington and, subsequently, resigned from her National Assembly seat.
According to a list of probable candidates for women’s reserved seats, which was submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the next two candidates are already elected in the Sindh Assembly on the party’s quota of reserved seats in the provincial legislature.
“Next in line are Shazia Marri and Ruqqia Khanam Soomro, both of whom are members of the Sindh Assembly right now,” a PPP official said. Marri is the provincial minister for information, while Soomro is around 80 years of age, the PPP leader said.
Under election laws, each party, which takes part in the elections, has to file a list of probable candidates for reserved seats to the ECP. The commission, then, allocates reserved seats to the party according to their quota determined on the basis of seats won in the general elections. The sequence of names in the list is treated as an order of seniority and cannot be changed as the ECP also possesses a copy.
According to PPP sources, Surryia Jatoi is number three on the list of remaining candidates.
In case the party wants to supersede the seniority list, it is required to submit a concrete reason and a written permission from those who are being superseded.
The PPP is registered with the ECP with Makhdoom Amin Fahim as the head of Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians; not President Asif Ali Zardari or Bilawal Bhutto Zardari who are co-chairman and chairman of the PPP, respectively.
If a reserved seat is vacated, it is replaced through the seniority/priority list the party had provided before general elections.
PPP Information secretary Qamar Zaman Kaira told The Express Tribune he was not sure who would replace the prolific MNA Sherry Rehman as Marri is a member of the provincial cabinet and Soomro is “not well”.
However, he added that it is up to the party leadership to decide the matter.
A spokesman for the ECP said that the commission has not received any formal notification from the speaker of the National Assembly that the seat is vacant.
He added that the commission moves once the speaker writes to the chief election commissioner about the vacant seat.
Interestingly, the speaker has neither formally informed the commission of the resignation of former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2011.