With the unofficial Senate election results out, the PPP-led alliance made sizeable gains touching the figure of 70 seats out of a House of 104. The PPP itself emerged the strongest party, adding 14 seats to their previous tally of 27 and thus claiming a total of 41 Senators in the new House. The next in line came the PML-N, which secured seven additional seats against the one Senator who had retired after having served in the House for six years. As the second largest individual party in the Upper House with 14 seats, the PML-N would have the privilege of nominating one of its Senators as the Leader of the Opposition. Already, the party’s Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is the Leader of the Opposition in the Lower House. Another ruling alliance party, ANP, doubled its strength from six to 12, emerging as the third largest, but the PPP ally MQM succeeded in adding only one seat to its previous number of six. On the other hand, the elections witnessed the number of JUI-F’s Senators coming down from 10 to seven, as the party was able to regain only four seats out of the seven it had to vacate on completion of the six-year term of its Senators. It must be stated that except in the case of a couple of seats, the results produced little surprises. Provincial Election Commissioner of Balochistan Abdul Jabbar Jamali has, however, withheld the announcement of results as a result of a dispute over the counting of votes between the PML-N and the ANP. The recounting would take place on March 5, when the position in the province would become clear.
The election results have brought into focus at least two telling facts. The disunited Muslim League failed to bag 11 seats it would have easily won had its splintered groups heeded the call for sinking their differences and joined hands. The second significant outcome is that the ruling alliance led by the PPP now enjoys an unassailable position in both the Houses of Parliament. As for the Upper House, it has secured a two-thirds majority and is able to give an overwhelming approval to any legislation passed in the Lower House. One would sincerely hope that it would rise above the game of party politicking and address itself, unhampered by voices of dissent coming from the opposition parties, to providing relief to the people. Its policies of the past four years have had little to do with its election manifesto: roti, kapra and makan. Rather, it could be blamed for the spiralling across-the-board inflation that proved counterproductive to its commitments. One would expect it to do as much as it can to undo the impact of its policies, if anything, to raise its prospects of faring well in the coming general elections.