Members of the national and provincial assemblies will elect 48 senators on Thursday to replace members of the upper house of parliament retiring on March 11.
With indications that the ruling PML-N and the main opposition PPP will secure almost equal representation in the Senate.
The number of seats each of the two parties is expected to win is 25, but any behind-the-scene move can bolster the position of one of the parties to enable it to clinch the offices of chairman and deputy chairman of the Senate. Analysts believe that the victory of two independents from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — Waqar Ahmad Khan and his brother Ammar Ahmad Khan – would make the PPP the single largest party because their loyalty to the party is an open secret.
There are 132 candidates in the run for 48 seats. Four candidates from Sindh have already been elected unopposed. According to the Election Commission of Pakistan, 84 candidates will contest for 33 general seats from the provinces, 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.
From the Federal Capital, Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, Ashraf Gujjar, Raja Imran Ashraf and Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah will vie for one general seat, while Raheela Magsi, Nargis Nasir, Mrs Bisma Asif, Mrs Shumaila Shahab, Ms Nargis Faiz Malik will contest for one seat reserved for women. From Punjab, Chaudhry Tanvir Khan, Mushahidullah Khan, Lt Gen Abdul Qayyum, Pervaiz Rashid, Ghous Mohammad Khan Niazi, Nehal Hashmi, Nadeem Afzal Chan, Khawaja Mahmood Ahmed, Saleem Zia and Saud Majeed will contest for seven general seats,
Ayesha Raza Farooq, Najma Hameed and Sarwat Malik for two seats reserved for women and Raja Zafarul Haq, Prof Sajid Mir and Malik Nosher Khan Langrial for two seats reserved for technocrats / ulema. From Sindh, Islamuddin Sheikh, Imamuddin Shouqeen, Khushbakht Shujaat, Saleem Mandviwala, Abdul Rehman Malik, Abdul Latif Ansari, Gianchand and Mian Muhammad Ateeq Sheikh will vie for seven general seats. Sassui Palijo and Nighat Mirza on two seats reserved for women and Farooq H. Naek and Mohammad Ali Saif on two seats reserved for technocrats have been elected unopposed.