Senate elections: It’s a near tie! - PPP, PML-N share sweepstakes

Published: March 6, 2015
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Vote marred by controversies resulted in a split mandate for ruling PML-N and opposition PPP.

Vote marred by controversies resulted in a split mandate for ruling PML-N and opposition PPP.

Federal and provincial lawmakers voted to elect over four dozen members of the upper house of parliament on Thursday in a vote marred by controversies that resulted in a split mandate for the ruling PML-N and the opposition PPP.  The incoming senators are to replace 52 lawmakers who are retiring on March 11 after completing their six-year constitutional term.

The controversy erupted when MPs from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) agitated the last-minute changes in the voting procedure for them through a presidential decree. President Mamnoon Hussain issued the order late Wednesday night, restricting the Fata MPs to cast one vote each instead of four granted to them by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in 2002.

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As unofficial results of the Senate elections trickled in from Lahore, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) looked set to sweep all seats in Punjab, quelling rumours of ‘dissent’ within the prime minister’s bastion.

The PML-N leadership came out aggressively defending its earlier stance that it would bag all the Senate seats from Punjab, dismissing allegations of ‘Punjabi chauvinism’ by casting vote for party workers who did not belong to the province and negating any defections within the party.

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Lawmakers nearly came to blows and their tongues spewed a vitriol of Ps and Qs. Accusations rained down with the same fury inside the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly building as the downpour did outside on Thursday.

Senate polls were delayed for over four hours over rigging allegations levelled by the opposition parties who claimed treasury lawmakers were taking ballot papers out of the assembly’s premises to stamp them under the chief minister’s watch. As a result, the polling process was put on hold around noon and finally resumed again at 4:15pm, after the official time was over. The time to cast ballots was resultantly extended till 8pm. The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf claimed opposition parties were throwing a spanner in the works to divert attention from their imminent loss. The opposition, on the other hand, placed the onus on the PTI, saying its lawmakers were violating rules by taking the ballot papers outside.

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Numerically, the PML-N is the largest party in the Balochistan Assembly. But the numerical strength couldn’t save the party embarrassment as its senior vice president, Sardar Yaqoob Nasir, could not win a seat in Thursday’s Senate elections.

Overall too, the party didn’t fare well. Having support of 28 legislators in the 65-member house, the party could grab only three seats. Interestingly, its smaller coalition partners, the National Party (NP) and Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), also won three seats each even though they have respectively 11 and 14 MPAs in the provincial legislature.

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The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) emerged triumphant on Thursday after their nominees bagged all the seven Senate seats up for grabs in Sindh.

The PPP picked up five seats while the MQM came away with two seats. The ruling party in Sindh, PPP, put down the victory to the successful strategy devised by it with the help of the MQM.

Both the parties notched up the required votes with the help of five ‘unidentified’ opposition lawmakers and two MPAs from the National Peoples Party (NPP), another opposition group that is going to join the PPP-led government in Sindh.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Lion King
    Mar 6, 2015 - 11:14AM

    Is there anything of any value that any of the senators ever did for the people and this country except serving their own squalid corrupt interests ???Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Mar 6, 2015 - 11:41AM

    and what did pakistan won from this? exactly?Recommend

  • Parvez
    Mar 6, 2015 - 1:06PM

    This ‘ circus ‘ called the Senate Elections proves only one thing……DEMOCRACY in the form practiced in Pakistan HAS FAILED……..because the people get nothing from it.Recommend

  • nkhan
    Mar 6, 2015 - 1:27PM

    Again same old corrupt faces…. when we will get rid of these “good for nothing” democratic leader?????Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Mar 6, 2015 - 2:24PM

    The return of the bad old days.

    I reallt do wonder if Imran is absolutely right and the 2013 elections were subject to massive riggingRecommend

  • Blithe
    Mar 6, 2015 - 4:08PM

    @Lion King:
    It’s part of the democratic process , albeit with some flaws from kpk. Learn to live with it unless you want to take Pakistan decades back with military junta . Recommend

  • raider
    Mar 6, 2015 - 5:09PM

    @Blithe:
    we dont want learn to live with this democracy, we want rule of law, what is democracy i dont know, because i have not seen democracy Recommend

  • Raisani
    Mar 6, 2015 - 5:21PM

    These senators are of no work except they are an extra baggage n burden on our taxpayers money. that’s all about it. they have only come to enjoy the perks n privileges like a government passport for a life time, vip treatment everywhere n the name senator for a lifetime plus other various privileges. Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Mar 6, 2015 - 5:59PM

    @raider:

    You ain’t seen dictatorship either and even if you have which I know you have considering that you are a follower of Musharraf as well, this is the working form of democracy you got to live with until it evolves into a real democracy that you are talking about. Trust me, that umpire will not lift his finger for anyone.Recommend

  • Crusader
    Mar 6, 2015 - 6:20PM

    Same clowns, same circus.Recommend

  • Kashif Khan
    Mar 6, 2015 - 7:43PM

    Every Corruption question was asked from Generals. Only politician are corrupt in Pakistan. Every section of the society have same rotio. Pakistan need to build institution like Senate, National Assembly, Supper Court and others. You and me have to work for betterment. ThanksRecommend

  • Lion King
    Mar 6, 2015 - 9:12PM

    @Blithe: Horse trading, corruption, nepotism, crimes, political hiring, land mafia raaj, people being burned alive for bhatta, kidnapping for ransom being patronized by crime minister and ministers in sinned province etc. etc.

    “democracy” sure appears swaying in full swing dudeRecommend

  • Shahid Kinnare
    Mar 7, 2015 - 2:56AM

    Million dollar question is why Imran Khan took money from PLMN, and let them win all the senate seat from Punjab. Recommend

  • Usman
    Mar 7, 2015 - 6:29AM

    Oh yes, lets report on Senate election results, not on the horse trading that took place recently, neither the fact that for the firs time Pakistan’s history, this horse trading was exposed by Imran Khan. These results are irrelevant to all Pakistani until free and fair elections take placeRecommend

  • Adnan Siddiqi
    Mar 7, 2015 - 10:40AM

    @Shahid Kinnare:

    People like Niazi can be bought dime a dozen. Besides, what leverage does the fan club party has in the Punjab assembly that would compel PML-N to offer any incentives? The party has already resigned and if it had changed its mind and contested the senate elections at the last moment, Punjab assembly would have immediately accepted their resignations and kicked them out.Recommend

  • raider
    Mar 7, 2015 - 1:51PM

    @Adnan Siddiqi:
    after accepting resignations of pti what left corruption filth and noora qushti, this is pti which triggered unswerving wave among women youth and even children, first make up your mind sane and try put some thoughts you will likely to realize that minus pti is nothing left but all the way kings with alternate heteromorphic incumbencyRecommend

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