ISLAMABAD: At least six cadres of independent members of National Assembly from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are likely to boycott Senate elections for issuing presidential ordinance restricting them to just one vote instead of four votes, sources told The Express Tribune.
President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain signed an ordinance on FATA Regulations, altering the rules for Senate elections to replace the presidential ordinance on FATA regulations issued in 2002. With the National Assembly session prorogued on March 3, the government waited till past midnight to issue the ordinance.
According to the crux of new ordinance, the right of each MNA from FATA to four votes while electing a Senator was withdrawn. As a result of the ordinance, which comes into effect immediately, each FATA MNA will only have one vote in the ongoing election.
Lawmakers from other parts of the country too are entitled to only one vote.
Currently, there are 11 MNAs from FATA (with one seat vacant) who will be voting for four Senate seats. There are as many as 36 candidates vying for these seats.
Sources in PM House said that the six independent MNAs from FATA, under leadership of GG Jamal, had reportedly finalised their terms with four candidates to elect them into the upper house comfortably. They added that in such a situation, the remaining five MNAs from FATA would have been unable to assail this majority.
Further, they added that the new ordinance would allow all the 11 MNAs to play their due role in electing four Senators from the region.
A source in the federal cabinet added that the Election Commission of Pakistan was on board with the new ordinance.
Fata MNAs may boycott Senate polls
Sources close to the group of FATA MNAs said that they may boycott the ongoing elections to protest the ordinance. They added that the six MNAs may even approach the Supreme Court to seek legal recourse.
According to sources, the group of six MNAs planned to back Malik Momin Khan, Taj Muhammad Afridi, Aurangzaib Khan Orakzai and one other candidate.
Sources added that under the new law, a boycott by the six MNAs would not allow the remaining five MNAs to elect four Senators.