ISLAMABAD - The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will start receiving nomination papers for Senate elections for federal territory, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and four provinces from today (Monday). According to schedule announced by the ECP, the returning officer will continue receiving nomination papers in provincial election commissions and central election commission offices till Tuesday. Scrutiny of nomination papers will be carried out on Thursday and Friday (Feb 16, 17). The appeals regarding objections would be disposed of on Feb 22 and 23. The final list of the candidates will also be announced on February 24.

     Elections are being held on 54 seats including 11 from each province, four Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and two seats from federal capital while four minority members (one from each province) will also be elected for the first time.  Members of provincial assemblies of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan will elect for Senate seven members from general seats, two from seats reserved for women and two for seats reserved for technocrats including Ulema. National Assembly members will elect to Senate one member against general seat and other on seat reserved for technocrats including Ulema from federal capital. National Assembly members from Fata will elect for Senate four members against general seats. In addition, provincial assembly members of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan will elect for Senate one member on seats reserved for non-Muslims. A total of 50 senators are going to retire in March after completing their terms including 11 from each province, four from Fata and two from federal capital.

According to Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) out of 64 general seats, seven members would be elected from Punjab on general seats, two on women seats and one on technocrat seat.

A candidate will require at least 53 votes to get elected from Punjab Assembly as it has the total strength of 371 seats. Having the support of 186 members, the ruling PML-N is likely to win four general seats.

The PPP has strength of 107 members. The PML-Q has the support of around 54 members and the remaining 30 members have either been re-elected on PML-N ticket or formed a forward bloc, so both parties can get one seat each by supporting each other.   Of the two women seats, one would be easily grabbed by the PML-N while the other would be won by a PPP and PML-Q joint candidate. So the PPP would have to either adjust a PML-Q member on the technocrat or women’s seat.

One technocrat seat would go to the PML-N, while the other would go to the PPP-PML-Q alliance. So, out of total 11 seats, the PML-N would win seven seats, three would go to the PPP and one might be bagged by the PML-Q. In Sindh Assembly, elections would be held for seven general, two women and two technocrat seats. Since the Sindh Assembly has the strength of 168 members, 24 members have to vote to elect a member. Since the PPP has strength of 93 members, the ruling party may win four general seats out of total seven.

The MQM would regain their two seats while one seat may be won either by the PML-Q or the PML-F if they join hands to win a seat.

While two women and two technocrats seats would also be shared by both the parties by winning one each on technocrat and women seats. So the final result may be that the PPP bags six, four seats would go to the MQM, while one seat may either go to the PML-Q or the PML-F, as both have eleven and eight members each. 

The PPP and coalition partners will have seven seats won from Sindh, while four would go to the MQM.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly, a candidate with at least 18 votes can win a general seat. Awami National Party (ANP) with 49 members will win three seats with PPP’s support, while the PPP, having the strength of 30 MPAs, may win one or two seats if the PML-Q’s six MPA decide to support coalition partners.

MMA having the support of 14 members if able to get the support from either the six PPP-Sherpao MPAs, can win a seat, while one seat may go to those supported by 10 independent candidates.

The ANP and the PPP may win two seats each on technocrat and women seats with the support of independent MPAs and their coalition partners. So the ANP may win six seats, the PPP may get four seats, while the MMA may win one seat.

In Balochistan, any candidate will need the support of nine members to get elected as a senator. In a House of 65 members, the PML-Q is a majority party with 18 members. The PPP is the second largest party with strength of 13 MPAs.

Both parties will bag the lion’s share of the seven general seats. The PML-Q may win five seats, three general seats and one each on women and technocrats seats, while the PPP may also get four seats, two general and one each on technocrat and women seats. The MMA, mostly comprising of the JUI-F, will bag one general seat with nine MPAs, while Balochistan National Party-Awami (BNP-A) may also get one general seat.

One general and one technocrat seat of federal capital will be won by the PPP with the support of its allies. Four people will be elected from Fata as four senators are retiring. Of the four seats, each party will field candidates as the Political Parties Act has been extended to Fata.

The four seats have been reserved for minorities in the Senate following the 18th Amendment. Based on the strength of political parties in the provincial assemblies, the PPP is going to bag two Senate seats one each from Sindh and Balochistan. The Pakistan Muslim League-N is likely to get Punjab’s minority seat with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s seat possibly going to the Awami National Party.

After the elections the total senators of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) will be 42, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) 13, Awami National Party (ANP) 10, Pakistan Muslim League Quaid-i-Azam (PML-Q) 08, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) 06, independents 13, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) (JUI-F) 07, Balochistan National Party Awami (BNP-A) 03, Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F)01 and National Party (NP) 01.