LAHORE - The recent Senate nominations made by political parties have raised the question yet again whether the Upper House represented the political parties or the federating units.

The final list of Senate candidates shows that two major political parties, the PPP and the PML-N, have issued tickets to some candidates who don’t belong to the province from where they are contesting the election.

If the PPP has issued two Senate tickets to candidates from Punjab out of Sindh quota of seats for the upcoming Senate polls, the ruling PML-N has done the same by issuing party tickets to three of its candidates from Sindh to contest from Punjab Assembly.

Rehman Malik and Farooq H Naek, two old buddies of PPP chief Asif Ali Zardari, who are actually from Punjab, have been accommodated from seats meant for Sindh province. The PPP had also got them elected from Sindh in the last Senate elections.

The list of PML-N’s prospective candidates from Punjab includes names like Saleem Zia, Nihaal Hashmi and Mushidullah Khan who belong to Sindh.

Similarly, the PML-N has given two Senate seats of Islamabad to Iqbal Zafar Jhagra and Dr Raheela Magsi who hail from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh respectively, meaning thereby that capital city would have no representation of its own in the Upper House.

The MQM and ANP are also not lagging behind the two major parties in this regard.

The names of Senator Shahi Syed from Sindh and Senator Tahir Mashhadi from Punjab can be quoted in this connection as the two were elected Senators in the last elections from Sindh and KP respectively.

Professor Khursheed also used to contest Senate election from the KP province despite his Punjab domicile.

It is significant to mention here that the PTI has not fielded a single candidate out of KP province.

The political parties seek a legal cover and justification for this wrong practice by getting the names of such candidates registered in the province of their choice from where they want to field them.

Legal experts view that political parties are acting in violation of the spirit of the Constitution which provides for equal representation of all federating units in the Senate.

“It is against the provincial autonomy and offends the concept of Upper House where equal representation is given to smallest province as against the biggest one,” noted legal expert, Dr Babar Awan, told The Nation, adding that it also abrogated Article 59 of the Constitution and proved wrong the claims of those who claim themselves as democrats but were running the government like dynasties.

In case of Saleem Zia of PML-N, Babar Awan said that a Sindh rural seat has been given to Punjab while Southern Punjab has been totally disowned by doling out seats to the cronies. “One limb of Islamabad has been given to Sindh while the other one has been thrown to the KP,” he commented on PML-N nominations from Islamabad. He was of the view that every province should have its own voice in the Senate and Islamabad was also like a small province which would have no representation at all after the polls.

Asked which constitutional body should stop this practice of undue nominations in the Senate, Babar Awan, also a former Senator, told that under the Senate Representation Act of 1975, it was duty of the Election Commission of Pakistan to ensure that prospective candidates come from the respective provinces.

“The Supreme Court under Article 184-3 can also treat it as question of grave public importance and pass an order on violation of constitutional provision regarding the Senate polls,” he further remarked.

Former Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan, Kanwar Dilshad, also termed the current practice of Senate nominations against the spirit of the Constitution.

Senator Mohsin Leghari when contacted said: “The Upper House represents the federating units and not the political parties.”