With more than two candidates per seat, no applicant was declared unofficial winner in Sindh’s Senate nominations on Thursday.
The provincial election commission, after scrutinising the nomination papers, cleared 29 candidates to contest the upcoming election on 12 available seats.
Nomination papers cleared included those of ruling Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Raza Rabbani, Saeed Ghani, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Rashid Rabbani, Mukhtiar Ahmed and Dr Kareem Khawaja, Pakistan Muslim League-Functional’s (PML-F) Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah and Manghan Mangrio, Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) Syed Mustafa Kamal, Nasreen Jalil, Kanwar Naveed Jameel and Dr Farouqh Naseem and PML-Q (Likeminded)’s Gaffar Qureshi.
Meanwhile, applications of MQM’s Umar Khan Sherzai and PML-Q (Likeminded)’s Mangal Das Arwani were rejected by the provincial election commissioner.
Arwani and Sherzai had filed their nominations for technocrat and general seats respectively.
Sixteen candidates from various parties applied for general seats, five for reserved seats for women, six for technocrats and five for minorities.
Negotiations with partners
The ruling PPP wanted to retain eight of the 12 seats in the upcoming elections, leaving three for MQM and one for PML-F, said sources privy to the development.
Due to pressure from the MQM, however, the PPP agreed to reduce its share from eight to seven.
Four candidates of PPP will be elected on general seats, and one each on minority, women and technocrat seats, sources said.
Raza Rabbani, Saeed Ghani, Mukhtiar Ahmed and Kareem Khawaja will contest on general seats, Hafeez Shaikh on technocrat, Hari Ram Kishori Lal on minority seat and Muddassir Sehar Kamran on women seat.
“Rashid Rabbani was the candidate for another general seat, but party has decided to drop him,” party sources said.
The government has also started approaching its coalition partners and opposition parties in Sindh to contest the elections unopposed.
Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Khurshid Shah has been entrusted to negotiate with former chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim who has nominated his candidates to contest the election.
During the scrutiny process, a large number of PPP leaders, led by Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah, reached election commission office along with their candidates. Raza Haroon of MQM and Jam Madad Ali of PML-F also lead their candidates to the commission.
After the scrutiny process, the chief minister said the government was trying to elect senators unopposed and had started negotiating with leaders of various political parties in this regard.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 17th, 2012.