ISLAMABAD: As the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz won the expected 15 seats in Senate elections on Saturday after having suffered a major setback in Balochistan, the Pakistan Peoples Party pulled off a surprise win on 12 seats which with the likely support of independent candidates may further allow it to consolidate its position in the upper house.
The PML-N backed candidates won 11 out of total 12 seats from Punjab where the ruling party despite enjoying majority lost one seat to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf organiser Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar amid allegations of horse-trading.
The Muttahida Quami Movement was the biggest loser as it could bag only one seat despite having 37 seats in the Sindh Assembly and a last-minute agreement between its two factions led by Dr Farooq Sattar and Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui.
According to unofficial results, 15 candidates backed by the PML-N, 12 Pakistan Peoples Party, 10 independent, six PTI, two candidates of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and National Party each, one candidate from each of the MQM, Jamaat-i-Islami and PML-F returned successful on the 52 of the 104 Senate seats.
The overall strength of each party following the election shows 33 PML-N-backed candidates, 20 PPP candidates, 15 independent candidates, 12 PTI candidates, five candidates of MQM, PkMAP and NP each, four candidates of JUI-F, two candidates of JI, and one candidate from each of the PML-F, ANP and Balochistan National Party-Mengal in the house of 104 members. The parties which have lost representation in the upper house are PML-Q and BNP-Awami.
In Punjab, the ruling party candidates shouted foul when Zubair Gul lost on a seat that was bagged by PTI candidate Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar despite having poor representation of his party in the provincial assembly. The six PML-N-backed independent candidates who won the general seats from Punjab include Dr Asif Kirmani, Musadik Malik, Haroon Akhtar Khan, Rana Mahmood ul Hassan, Shaheen Khalid Butt and Rana Maqbool Ahmad. Zubair Gul was president of the PML-N’s UK chapter and had surrendered his UK nationality to contest the polls. Former finance minister Ishaq Dar and sitting federal minister for communications Haji Abdul Karim won the two technocrat seats from the province, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s sister Saadia Abbasi, and sitting senator Nuzhat Sadiq due to retire on March 11 clinched the two seats reserved for women while Kamran Michael, another outgoing senator, won the seat reserved for non-Muslims.
The election results for 12 Senate seats from Sindh surprised many. Farogh Naseem who supports the Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui-led faction of MQM was the only candidate of the party to emerge victorious in a vote recount. The PPP clinched 10 seats including five general seats, two reserved seats for technocrats and women each and one for non-Muslims to take its total strength to 20 against the expectation of 17. Successful PPP candidates on general seats from Sindh include sitting chairman of Senate Raza Rabbani, Maula Bux Chandio, Mohammad Ali Shah Jamote, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and Dr Sikander Menghro. Rukhsana Zuberi and Dr Sikandar Mandhro won the technocrat seats while Anwar Lal Dean won the seat for minorities. Quratulain Marri and Krishna Kohli won the election for the reserved seat for women. PML- F candidate Muzzafar Hussain Shah’s contacts with two MQM factions and the Pak Sarzameen Party also worked to save his party’s elimination from the upper house as he bagged one seat.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, PTI secured five seats, PPP and PML-N-backed candidates two seats each, and JI and JUI-F one seat each.
PTI candidates Faisal Hayat, Muhammad Ayub Afridi, Fida Muhammad, Azam Swati (technocrat) and Mehar Taj Roghni (woman); PPP candidates Bahramand Khan and Rubina Khalid (woman); PML-N backed candidates Pir Sabir Shah and Dilawar Khan; JUI-F’s Talha Mehmood; and JI’s Mushtaq Khan won the Senate seats.
In Balochistan, six independent candidates with unclear political affiliation were amongst the winners, while the PkMAP and NP clinched two seats each and JUI-F got one seat. Those who won against the general seats include Sardar Shafiq Tareen and Abida Umar (PkMAP), Tahir Bijenjo and Akram Dashti (NP), Maulana Faiz Muhammad (JUI-F) and independent candidates including Anwarul Haq Kakar, Ahmad Khan, Kauda Babar, Sadiq Sanjrani, Naseeb Ullah Bazei and Sana Jamali.
The results of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) seats were the first to come out. As many as 25 candidates contested for the four Senate seats from Fata. The four candidates who won the Senate election from Fata according to unofficial results, are Shamim Afridi, Hidayatullah, Hilal-ur-Rehman and Mirza Mohammad Afridi.