Polling for Senate seats in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been extended to 8pm after a temporary suspension over allegations of rigging.
Meanwhile, voting in the Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan Assemblies has come to a close with initial results emerging. Polling for Fata, however, has been postponed after a controversy surfaced over an ordinance promulgated by President Mamnoon Hussain last night.
Polling in Punjab was also suspended amid rigging allegations, however, it resumed within 5 minutes. Polling concluded at 4pm and vote count is currently underway. According to unofficial results, The Pakistan Muslim League -Nawaz (PML-N) swept Punjab, winning all 11 seats for the Senate. Notable PML-N leaders who stood victorious include Pervaiz Rashid, Mushahidullah Khan and Prof Sajid Mir. Iqbal Zafar Jhagra of PML-N also won, securing 211 votes for Senate’s general seat reserved for Islamabad. Also from PML-N, Raheela Magsi, contesting for the women’s seat reserved for the federal capital, stood victorious by securing 205 votes. Runner up candidates of PPP Raja Imran and Nargis Faiz Malik received 68 and 71 votes, respectively.
Meanwhile in Sindh, all of Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) five candidates and Muttahida Quami Movement’s (MQM) two candidates, Khushbukht Shujaat and Islamuddin Sheikh, were elected to the Parliament’s Upper House today. According to reports, PTI’s four MPs in the Sindh Assembly did not cast their votes. Pakistan Muslim League-Functional’s (PML-F) Imamuddin Shauqeen could only secure 12 votes, losing out to his competitors from PPP and MQM.
In Balochistan, PML-N’s internal rifts cost the party a seat, with Sardar Yaqub Nasir unable to make it to the Upper House. But Mir Naimat Ullah Khan Zehri of PML-N came out victorious. Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party’s Gul Bashri and PML-N’s Kulsum Parveen were elected as Senators on seats reserved for women, while National Party’s (NP) Ashok Kumar won on a minority seat. Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party’s Usman Kakkar was also victorious in Balochistan, while JUI-F’s Ghafoor Haidri also made it to the Upper House, both on general seats. Independent contestant Yousuf Hadani was also able to grab a seat.
Speaking to media representatives in Lahore earlier today, PPP leader and former MPA Raja Riaz had said ballot papers were being forcibly marked in the Punjab Assembly. Moreover, lawmakers from the PPP and the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) in KP accused members of parties from the province’s ruling coalition of taking ballot papers outside assembly premises. PPP Secretary General Raja Pervez Ashraf said that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had been instructed to take their ballot papers to Chief Minister House, where they were to mark these in accordance with the wishes of the party’s top leadership. Opposition members in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly presented the provincial government with two demands for the resumption of the stalled polling process asking for the number of ballot boxes to be raised to four and two signatures of ECP officials on the ballot papers. The demands for the resumption of polling process, which have remained suspended since the past three hours, were rejected by KP Chief Minister Parvez Khattak.
Meanwhile, Returning Officers in Islamabad’s Parliament House submitted a request with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) asking for polls for Senate seats from Fata to be postponed after a controversy surfaced over an ordinance promulgated by the president. The ordinance pertaining to the Senate elections from Fata withdraws the Statutory Regulatory Order of July 7, 1975, as well as a 2002 executive order — issued by former president Pervez Musharraf — which gave each tribal senator as many votes as the number of vacant seats. Following the withdrawal of the two earlier orders, each Fata MNA will now only have one vote. Polling for Senate seats went underway in the national and provincial assemblies earlier during the day as 132 candidates contest for 48 seats in the Upper House of Parliament.
Senate elections for Fata postponed
Polling for Fata has been postponed and a new date is expected to be announced later. Earlier, Fata MNAs for four constituencies arrived at the Parliament House to inquire about the status of the elections. The MNAs met ECP officials and presiding officials who informed them that polling was postponed due to the confusion prevailing with regards to the presidential ordinance issued yesterday. A session in Fata is underway at the ECP and the MNAs will be apprised of the new polling date as soon as a consensus is reached.
CEC takes notice of rigging allegations
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) retired Justice Sardar Mohammad Raza Khan took notice of rigging allegations during polls for Senate seat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and has decided to conduct a probe into the charges. Justice (retd) Sardar Mohammad Raza Khan said that if Raja Pervez has any evidence it should be presented to the commission and action would be taken against those found responsible for the act. According to the ECP, 84 candidates will contest for 33 general seats from the provinces, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the federal capital, 22 for eight seats reserved for women from the provinces and the federal capital and 18 for eight seats reserved for technocrats, including ulema. Eight candidates will contest for two seats reserved for minorities — one each from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.