After a gap of 12 years, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Aitzaz Ahsan took his first steps back to the upper house of parliament.
Aitzaz, and PPP leader Dr Babar Awan, submitted their nomination papers for Senate elections to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday.
The ECP finalised the submission of nomination papers, and received 166 applications against 54 seats of the Senate.
“I can serve the party better by being a member of parliament,” Aitzaz told journalists on Tuesday.
“I’m thankful to the party for my nomination,” he added.
Analysts say the step is an opportunity for Aitzaz to propel his way to the top post in Senate.
Party insiders say four leaders, besides Aitzaz, are vying for the post of Senate chairman - Farhatullah Babar, Raza Rabbani, Awan and Nayyar Abbas Bokhari.
The incumbent chairman, Farooq H Naek, may continue to hold the office too since he is considered to be very close to party co-chairman President Asif Ali Zardari, sources added.
Until Tuesday, the last day for submitting nominations, the ECP had received around 93 applications for 33 general seats, 29 applications for 8 women seats, 26 for nine technocrats and 18 for four minorities’ seats.
Province-wise, 25 applications were received in Punjab, 32 in Sindh, 38 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and 51 in Balochistan against 12 seats from each province.
Fifteen nominations have been received against four seats for Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).
Against two seats in the federal capital, the ECP received four nominations - PML-Q’s Mushahid Hussain Syed, PPP’s Osman Saifullah, PML-N’s Dr Mazhar Hussain Mirza and Muhammad Omar Mughal.
The nominations will be scrutinised on February 16 and 17 and appeals regarding objections would be disposed off on February 22 and 23.
The finalised list of the candidates will also be announced on February 24.
The ruling PPP and opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) are expected to gain most of the seats in the upcoming Senate elections.
For the first time, the Jamaat-e-Islami will lose its representation in the upper house for the next three years; other parties on their way out are Pakhtunkhwa Mill Awami Party, Jamhoori Watan Party and PPP-Sherpao.
With 20 of its 21 senators retiring this March, the PML-Quaid (PML-Q) will lose most in the upcoming elections.
The biggest gainer will be the PPP which has five senators retiring, and is expecting to win 20 new seats, taking its strength to over 40.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2012.
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Sold his Conscience very cheaply. Everyone has a Price.