ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan People’s Party is optimistic to win more seats than its share in the Senate elections scheduled for today (March 3).

Senior PPP leaders said that the party was expecting to win seats from Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan despite its weak strength or zero presence in the provincial assemblies.

PPP candidate from Sindh, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar said that the party will win more than its share in Sindh and will make its presence felt in other provinces too.

“We won a seat from Balochistan last time also, this time, we are hoping that at least four to five independents will join the PPP after the election,” he said while speaking to The Nation.

Khokhar predicted that the PPP will win a seat from Punjab and one or two from KP. “People have shown response to the PPP and many independents are likely to join the party. If all goes well, we could be in a very good position in the Senate,” he said.

Nawazish Pirzada, Shahzad Ali Khan and Hina Rabbani Khar are PPP’s candidates in Punjab under different categories.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has already issued the final list for the Senate elections. According to the ECP, 136 candidates will contest for 52 Senate seats.

For the indirect elections, 33 candidates have applied from Sindh, 27 from KP, 25 from Balochistan, 20 from Punjab and seven from Islamabad.

In Sindh, the key contest will be between the PPP and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan. The PPP aims to win a major chunk from the Sindh province. Outgoing Senate chairman Mian Raza Rabbani, Maula Bux Chandio, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, and Murtaza Wahab are the prominent candidates from the PPP while Kamran Tessori, Farogh Naseem, Ahmed Chinoy, Syed Ameenul Haq, Amir Chishti, and Farhan Chishti, Dr Nasreen Jaleel are contesting on the MQMP ticket.

In Punjab, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is expected to win a majority of seats, if not all. However, their candidates have been reduced to ‘independents’ after the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif as the party chief. Andaleeb Abbas from the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf and Kamil Ali Agha from the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid are also in the race.

In KP, the main contest will be held between the PTI and smaller parties but PPP’s Faisal Sakhi Butt is hoping to get elected. In Balochistan, the PPP does not even have a member and no official candidate, but the party is still optimistic about winning some seats through the ‘independents’.

PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said the Senate polls could ‘spring surprises’. “We are going into the elections well prepared. We will win in Sindh and will have our share in other provinces,” he told The Nation.

Asked about the thin presence of the PPP in other provinces, Babar said that things will unfold after the elections – citing independents who may join the PPP.

Meanwhile, parliamentary members of PPP Punjab chapter called on PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari here.

Members Punjab Assembly Khwaja Nizamuddin, Sardar Shahabuddin, Rais Ibrahim Khalil, Qazi Ahmed Saeed and Faiza Malik were among those who attended the meeting.

“Matters relating to Senate elections were discussed in the meeting,” said a PPP statement. Senator Sherry Rehman, Haji Nawaz Khokhar and Rukhsana Bangash were also present.

ZARDARI SENDS FELICITATION ON BALOCH CULTURE DAY

Former president Asif Ali Zardari on Friday congratulated the Baloch people on ‘Baloch Culture Day’.

In a message, Zardari said that a culture of a nation highlights their civilization.

“Founding PPP chairman Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had established Lok Virsa (cultural heritage) keeping this in mind,” he said.

Zardari said: “Respect for elders and women and love for the children are part of our culture and we must not forget our positive cultural values. Extremism can be countered with cultural activities.”

Meanwhile, Zardari expressed his condolence to Sindh Assembly member Rubina Qaimkhani over the death of her son in a traffic accident.

Zardari said that he was shocked and grieved by the news of the tragic death of Qaimkhani’s son.

 

SHAFQAT ALI