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Pakistan's ruling coalition sweeps Senate elections, PPP wins 11 seats and PML-N six

Pakistan's Senate comprises 96 seats, out of which PML-N now has 19 and PPP has 24, giving them a crucial edge in introducing any amendment to the Constitution. The elections for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were postponed due to a dispute over the swearing-in of members on reserved seats.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Islamabad Published on: April 02, 2024 23:24 IST
Pakistan Senate elections
Image Source : X Pakistan Senate

Islamabad: The ruling coalition in Pakistan, led by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) swept the elections held in 19 Senate seats while polls were postponed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over the dispute pertaining to the swearing-in of opposition members elected to reserved seats, reported Dawn. The PML-N won six seats, the PPP won 11 seats and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) bagged one seat, as per unofficial results.

With these results, the PML-N's numbers in the 96-member upper house have now risen to 19 while the PPP’s have risen to 24. Meanwhile, Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) already has 20 members in the Senate. “Newly elected senators should participate in effective legislation for public welfare and national development and prosperity,” said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif while congratulating the newly elected senators.

The Senate comprises 96 members, including 23 each from four provinces and four from the federal capital region of Islamabad. Those from provinces are elected by the respective provincial assemblies while the National Assembly elects one Senator from the Islamabad region. The Senate is a continuous body as half of its members retire after three years and new ones are elected.

The ECP had announced plans to hold polls on 48 seats as four seats of senators who were elected from tribal regions were abolished after the region was merged with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of the country. The ruling alliance's growing strength will play a crucial role in any amendment to the constitution as a two-thirds majority is needed in both houses.

Key winners

Foreign minister Ishaq Dar was elected senator after getting 224 votes in the National Assembly. His opponent Raja Ansar Mehmood from the opposition Sunni Ittehad Council got 81 votes. Rana Mehmood ul Hassan of the Pakistan Peoples Party also won his seat by defeating Farzand Hussain Shah of the Sunni Ittehad Council. Thus the ruling alliance won both senate seats from the Islamabad capital territory.

Prominent among the winners were PML-N-supported Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb and Petroleum Minister Musadiq Malik who won in Punjab by garnering 128 and 121 votes, respectively. PML-N’s Khalil Tahir Sindhu was successful on a minority seat in Punjab while PPP’s Poonjo Bheel was successful on a minority seat in Sindh.

The ruling PPP secured 10 out of 12 seats in the Sindh province, while PML-N swept all seven seats in Punjab. An independent candidate won one seat in Sindh. Notably, the Senate had became dysfunctional on March 11 following the retirement of 52 lawmakers.

Polls postponed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Earlier, polling was postponed in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) “on account of delay of oaths of reserved seats” as the house was incomplete because 25 members elected on the reserved seats were not given oath by the speaker of the provincial assembly Babar Saleem Swati.

"The commission is of the considered view that the standards of honesty, justness and fairness of election as provided in Article 218(3) of the Constitution cannot be fulfilled due to non-administration of oath to elected members and which amounts to disenfranchisement of lawful voters and denial of level playing field to the voters,” the ECP said in a statement.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister and PTI leader Ali Amin Gandapur vowed that he would not let the members elected on reserved seats take oath as they were elected illegally as the seats were snatched from his party led by Imran Khan. He further said that the PTI would summon its parliamentary meeting and pass a resolution on the matter.

(with PTI inputs)

ALSO READ | Pakistan's defence minister says relations with India can improve after Lok Sabha elections

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