KARACHI - The coalition of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has easily clinched all Senate seats from the province with PPP taking five seats and MQM two despite horse trading allegations by Pakistan Muslim League-Functional leader and Opposition Leader in Sindh Assembly, Shaheryar Maher.

It is pertinent to mention here that both the parties had joined hands in the Senate elections and earlier withdrew their candidates against each other, resulting in unopposed win of their four candidates on women and technocrats’ seats.

PPP’s Sassui Palijo and Farooq H Naik while MQM’s Nighat Mirza and Barrister Saif made it to the Upper House as result of the seat adjustment between the two major political parties of Sindh.

PPP and MQM had took possession of seven and four seats respectively after these elections and their strength in Senate from Sindh had reached to 13 and eight members respectively.

Announcing the unofficial results after the election procedure, Sindh Chief Election Commissioner Tariq Qadri said the polling process remained peaceful and the security and other arrangements were exemplary. “All political parties had expressed satisfaction over the election process as no rigging was reported throughout. The election process remained slow till 1:00pm but it took momentum afterwards when majority of the members came out in the second half of the polling process,” he explained.

Announcing results, he said out of 167 lawmakers, 163 casted their votes, making the turnout of polling as 97.60 percent. Four members who did not show up in the House included PTI MPAs who had submitted their resignation letters from the assembly on the directives of their party leadership.  “Out of total seven candidates, five candidates from PPP and two from MQM are declared successful,” he said.

He informed that PPP candidates Islamuddin Shaikh took 24 votes, Gyanchand took 21 votes, Saleem Mandviwalla 21, Latif Ansari 20 and Rehman Malik 20. “Both MQM candidates - Khushbakht Shujaat and Mian Ateeq took 22 votes each. PML-F candidate Imamuddin Shaukeen took 13 votes.”  It is pertinent to be mention that out of the elected Senators of the PPP, three of them including Saleem Mandviwalla, Rehman Malik and Islamuddin Shaikh were also among those who recently retired from the Senate.

Malik and Islamuddin Shaikh became part of the Senate in 2009 for the six-year tenure while Saleem Mandviwalla was elected Senator on November 8, 2012 against a general seat from Sindh. Speaking to media after casting his vote, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah said the entire process was held crystal clear and no one can raise finger over anything. Responding to query regarding the fifth PPP candidate, the chief minister said it was their right to field as many candidates as they can. Speaking on Hussnain Mirza, the chief minister said he was the member of the PPP and came to vote for their candidate.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Functional had blamed PPP-led Sindh government for horse trading. It also said the role of the election commission was also suspicious in this process.

Talking to media, Opposition leader in Sindh Assembly Shaheryar Maher said two plain papers were discovered during the counting of votes which revealed that two of the members did not cast their vote and took away the ballot papers with them. He said five of their members did not vote in favour of their candidate and the results showed that they had voted for the PPP candidates. Maher, however, did not name the members who voted against the PML-F candidate. He said he could not express doubt on anyone of them without any proof.  He said the PPP had once again used its power and money to lure candidates and this rigged process had raised questions over the PPP’s claim of working for the supremacy of democracy in the country.

He also criticised the election commission officials for not taking notice of recovery of blank papers from the ballot box. However, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon refuted the PML-F claims of horse trading in the elections. He said the PML-F had 10 seats in the assembly but they got 13 votes which means they got three extra votes more than their mandate.  “PML-N candidates were free to vote for any candidate in the assembly as they had not fielded their candidate in the election race,” he said. They had individually asked them for votes in favour of PPP candidates, he added. Memon also congratulated the successful PPP and MQM senators, saying both the parties had completed the strength to get their candidates win.

ALTAF FELICITATES SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES

MQM chief Altaf Hussain has congratulated MQM Senate candidates Mian Ateeq and Khushbakht Shujat over their victory as a senator on general seats.  In a statement here on Thursday, he said MQM was the only party against the status-quo.

Meanwhile, PPP Sindh chapter general secretary and Senator, Taj Haider had felicitated the PPP candidates for securing seats in the Senate. He said the party lawmakers had showed their utmost loyalty to the party through which they had failed the efforts for tarnishing the sanctity of the secret ballot and thus played a positive role for curbing the horse trading in Sindh. However, the menace of horse trading was rampant in other parts of the country.

Haider said the results of the elections for the Senate were obvious that PPP was now in a position to grab the chairman and deputy chairman of the Senate seats with the support of its allies. He said the majority of Senators from PPP and allies in the Senate would ensure a mechanism to safeguard the interest of the people because the incumbent government of PML-N would now not in a comfortable position to impose any decisions that would compromise the rights of the masses.