This much is clear: the country’s political class is still incapable and unwilling to undertake a democratic exercise – Senate elections, in this case – without engaging in power games, allegations of corruption and scuffles. In line with tradition, Senate elections have been marred with controversy although results from Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan do not suggest that much “horse-trading” has taken place. The biggest surprise however, has come from Balochistan, where the PML-N lost one seat to a candidate from Balochistan National Party-Mengal. An independent candidate has also been elected to Senate, who is reported to be close to the PPP. While polling proceeded smoothly in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan, the situation in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) remained chaotic throughout the day as the ruling PTI attempted to violate rules for the greater good, as always. A party, which routinely boasts of having the most clean, incorruptible members, appeared alarmingly nervous and vulnerable to the lure of money. That the PTI had to violate procedure to ensure that its MPs did not betray its nominees speaks volumes about the sorry state of affairs in the party. Chairman Imran Khan has been threatening his MPs with consequences to keep them in line, which raises a serious question: why should the people of KP trust PTI MPAs when it is clear that their own Chairman doesn’t have much faith in them?

The PML-N and the PPP remain insistent on going by the book; the one they wrote and have stuck to in every Senate election they have ever contested. Reports by Inamullah Khattak published in this paper reveal much about their reliance on money to buy votes and ensure a heavy presence in the Upper House. Both the PPP and the PML-N have tried to maximize their seats by hook or by crook, and now, all eyes are on FATA. The PML-N yet again demonstrated its complete disregard for parliamentary ethics and procedures by issuing a SRO through the Presidency the night before the election. As a result, for the first time in Pakistan’s history, members for FATA could not cast their vote as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) pointed out ambiguities in the SRO and postponed polling. The game is still on. All eyes are on FATA. Both parties will try their best to woo MNAs from the tribal areas, which they do not usually care or legislate for.