KARACHI: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Friday announced its candidates for the March 3 Senate elections, retaining its parliamentary leader in the upper house of parliament Sherry Rehman, Senate Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwalla and Farooq H. Naek, the counsel for Asif Ali Zardari, while nominating former prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and seasoned politician Farhatullah Babar as proposed joint candidates of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

In a brief statement which only carried the names of the candidates, the PPP did not give much detail about the nominees and those who were interviewed for the upcoming Senate elections.

The party, however, raised serious concern over the schedule announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), calling it “too tight” to sort out many things and meet all due formalities.

Retains Sherry, Mandviwalla and Naek, nominates Gilani and Farhatullah as proposed unanimous candidates of PDM

According to the statement, the PPP issued tickets to Taj Haider, Shahadat Awan, and Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar, apart from Mr Mandviwalla and Ms Rehman, for Sindh’s general seats. For the technocrat seat, tickets were given to Farooq Naek, Karim Ahmed Khawaja and Shahadat Awan. For the women’s seat, Palwasha Khan, Khairunisa Mughal and Rukhsana Shah were nominated.

The PPP also issued ticket to Azeem-ul-Haq Minhas from Punjab. It also decided to field Farhatullah Babar from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Yousuf Raza Gilani from Islamabad as joint candidate of the PDM, the 10-party opposition alliance.

Apart from PPP stalwarts and those who have long association with it, a few have been selected for the first time for electoral politics and for the upper house of parliament.

Hailing from Ghotki, Jam Mehtab Dahar was first elected to the Sindh Assembly in 2002 and then in 2013. He remained in the provincial cabinet as minister for health, population welfare and revenue between 2008 and 2013.

Shahadat Awan is a known lawyer and member of the legal fraternity of the province who had also served as Sindh prosecutor general. In 2018, the Sindh Prosecution Welfare Association had moved the Sindh High Court, seeking Mr Awan’s removal on the grounds he was nominated in a report of the joint investigation team formed to interrogate Lyari gang leader Uzair Baloch.

Palwasha Khan is currently working as deputy information secretary of the PPP.

Despite finalising the names for the March 3 elections, the PPP saw the ECP schedule impractical to do many jobs. It also appealed the authorities concerned to show some flexibility.

“Only two days [Feb 12 and 13] have been reserved for all documentation and filing nomination papers,” said Sindh Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, who was seen quite active at the ECP regional office with other party colleagues collecting nomination papers and gathering other details from the officials concerned.

“There are several formalities which cannot be met within two days. There’s a weekend and both government and private offices will remain closed for the next two days which further makes this deadline very tight,” he added.

Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2021

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