ISLAMABAD -  The Election Commission of Pakistan on Monday announced that election on 52 Senate seats would be held on March 3.

According to a press statement, the ECP will issue a formal notification for election on February 2 and a returning officer will issue a public notice the next day.

Nomination papers will be filed between February 4 and 6, while scrutiny of papers will be held on February 9, and the list of candidates will be issued on 15th of the next month, it said.

Last week, the ECP issued a notification about the approval of the schedule of the Senate election, and announced appointment of ROs and polling officers.

The tenure of 52 senators from the four provinces, the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and Islamabad [the capital territory] is going to expire on March 11, upon completion of their six-year term.

The Senate comprises 104 members in which 23 each are from four provinces, eight from the Fata and four from Islamabad. The 23 seats allocated for each province comprise 14 general seats, four reserved for women, four for technocrats and one for a minority member.

About 12 senators from the Punjab are going to retire. Among them are seven those elected on general seats, and they are: Hamza, Kamil Ali Agha, Mohsin Leghari, Zafarullah Khan Dhandla, Saud Majeed, Zulfiqar Khan Khosa, and Asif Saeed Kirmani.

Aitzaz Ahsan and Ishaq Dar were elected on technocrat’s seats, Khalida Parveen and Nuzhat Sadiq on women seats, and Kamran Michael on non-Muslim’s quota.

Twelve senators are also retiring from Sindh. Seven of them were elected on general seats, two on technocrats’ seats, two on women seats and one on the seat reserved for non-Muslims.

The seven retiring senators elected on general seats of Sindh are: Murtaza Wahab, Tahir Mashhadi, Karim Khawaja, Maulana Tanveerul Haq, Raza Rabbani, Mukhtiar Dhamrah and Muzafar Hussain Shah.

Farogh Naseem and Taj Haider will complete their term on technocrats’ quota, Nasreen Jalil and Sehar Kamran on women seats, while Senator Hari Ram on non-Muslims quota.

Eleven senators are retiring from Balochistan. Among them, Daud Khan Achakzai, Hafiz Hamdullah; Israrullah Khan Zehri, Muhammad Yousaf, Saeedul Hassan and Nawabzada Saifullah Magsi were elected on general seats.

Mufti Abdul Sattar and Rozi Khan Kakar were elected on technocrats’ seat and Naseema Ehsan and Rubina Irfan were elected on women’s seat.

Eleven senators from the KP will also retire in March. Of them those who were elected on general seats are: Ahmad Hassan, Baz Muhammad Khan, Haji Saifullah Khan, Azam Khan Swati, Talha Mahmood, Nisar Muhammad and Shahi Syed.

Senator Farhatullah Babar and Ilyas Bilour will complete their term on technocrats’ seats, while Senator Rubina Khalid and Zahida Khan will retire from women seats.

The Fata’s four senators – Hidayatullah, Hilalur Rehman, Malik Najmul Hassan and Muhammad Saleh Shah – will also retire.

Osman Saifullah Khan, who was elected on Islamabad’s general seat and Mushahid Hussain Syed who was elected on technocrat seat will also retire in March.

Census audit

The PML-N government wants to complete audit of blocks before completion of its tenure this year to make the recent population census controversy-free, sources told The Nation on Monday.

The government wants to take credit for carrying out the 6th population census without any controversy, as special instructions have been given to complete the audit process as soon as possible, they said.

The Election Commission of Pakistan is in consultation with the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) to remove the errors and mistakes in blocks and maps for delimitation of constituencies.

The process to approve provided maps and blocks to the ECP may take some more months to finalise delimitation of constituencies, said sources in the PBS.

The PBS had provided the required census data to the ECP around two weeks before. The PBS had provided census maps of urban and rural blocks and census results, which is currently being examined.  The country was divided into 163,541 blocks to conduct the 6th census of the country, according to the information.

The government had announced to complete the exercise in three months time, sources said, but it might take more than stipulated timeframe.

The issue of raising the census blocks from one per cent to five per cent for a third party audit was approved in the last Council of Common Interests (CCI) meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Both houses of parliament (National Assembly and Senate) had passed a Constitutional Amendment about fresh delimitation of constituencies on the basis of provisional results of the 6th population census.

Two opposition parties the Pakistan People’s Party  and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan had mainly raised the objection over the results and demanded five per cent third party audit. As these opposition parties had also created much difficulty for government to pass the constitutional amendment regarding delimitation of constituencies.

The first population census was conducted in 1951, the second in 1961, the third in 1972, the fourth in March 1981, the fifth in 1998 and the 6th census was conducted in 2017. The census is required for judicious distribution of resources, representation in Parliament, tax collection, etc.

The PML-N government have taken credit of carrying out some of previous population census in its government era.