KARACHI: Senate election results, unofficial though, evoked mixed reactions from the political class. While those belonging to the triumphant parties are hailing the Upper House vote as a sign of democratic success, those on the losing side are obviously annoyed.
PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz took to twitter to laud the victory of Independent candidates backed by her party and claimed that it is testament to popularity of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
She said the PML-N is now the biggest party in the Senate as well.
Maryam lauded all the candidates who backed her father, adding that the PML-N was robbed of its name and slogan in the polls, however, the party’s popularity could not be vanquished.
She said that now the PML-N is now the biggest party in the senate as well.
سینٹ انتخابات میں مسلم لیگ ن کا نام ، جماعت اور نشان چھین لیے گئے۔— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) March 3, 2018
لیکن سنیٹ کا انتخاب ہر اس امیدوار نے جیتا جو نوازشریف کا انتخاب تھا ۔
مسلم لیگ ن کے تمام ارکان کو سیلوٹ کرتی ہوں جنھوں نے سیاست کی روایت بدل دی اور پارٹی اور نوازشریف کا ڈٹ کر ساتھ دیا۔ نہ ڈرے نہ پیچھے ہٹے۔— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) March 3, 2018
In his reaction, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan lamented that the PPP was able to win two seats from K-P due to horse trading, despite only having seven parliamentarians. Khan said this is an "electoral farce" and raises serious ethical questions.
He said his party had warned that the sale of votes would take place and had submitted proposals in this regard, however, the electoral reforms committee rejected all of these along with the Committee of the Whole of the Senate.
He claimed that the horse trading witnessed in the polls “is a sign of the moral decline of our political system”.
That is why PTI presented alternate election formats of either direct elections or elections on Party Lists. We warned sale of votes wld always exist otherwise. Sadly the electoral reforms committee rejected both these proposals as did the Committee of the Whole of the Senate. https://t.co/QqFQthqJBO— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) March 3, 2018
The horse trading in Senate elections allowed PPP to win 2 seats in KP where they only have 7 MPAs. This sort of electoral farce raises some serious ethical questions.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) March 3, 2018
Senate elections yet again witnessed shameful horse trading where MPAs bought & sold their votes as country witnessed this sale of their "elected" ppl to highest bidder. This shows moral decline of our political class. In which Western democracy does such a sale happen?— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) March 3, 2018
Senate elections: PML-N-backed independent candidates lead in Punjab, PPP in Sindh
Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said the PML-N’s victory proved that Nawaz Sharif cannot be separated from the party and his supporters.
Speaking to reporters outside the Punjab Assembly, he said the successful conduct of Senate elections was a triumph of democracy and a defeat for all those against it.
After winning the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s only Senate seat from Punjab Assembly, Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar thanked his own party, the Jamaat-e-Islami, independents and ‘friends’, who voted for him.
Speaking to the media, he said that party’s next target was to form its governments in Punjab and at the Centre.
Meanwhile, Asif Kirmani of the ruling party questioned Sarwar’s election despite insufficient number of PTI seats in Punjab Assembly.
“We will find out the names of PML-N members who switched sides,” he was quoted as saying by a private news channel.
PML-N MPA Uzma Bukhari also raised questions over Sarwar’s election, claiming that the elections were influenced with money unlawfully. “With only 31 seats in Punjab Assembly, how could a PTI candidate receive 44 votes?" she remarked.
While Mushahid Hussain Sayed, who won a seat on PML-N's ticket in Islamabad, told media that the Senate victory vindicates Sharif's political "narrative" with voters.
The official results will not immediately show how well PML-N has done because a number of candidates were barred from running under the party's banner after Sharif was removed from office.
Horse trading: Imran reiterates call for direct Senate elections
Those candidates, who will be running as "independents", are expected to pledge their allegiance to PML-N if they are elected to the senate, PML-N party officials say.