PESHAWAR: In the upcoming battle for 12 Senate seats from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a total of 25 candidates have been left in the electoral fray after the withdrawal of nomination papers by 16 others.
According to the final list of candidates issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) after the withdrawal of nomination papers on Thursday, a total of 11 candidates are in the running for seven general seats, five each for two seats each for technocrats and women, and four for a single minority seat.
Among those, who withdrew nominations, were 10 from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), two from the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), one from the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, two from Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and one independent.
Five PTI candidates, including federal information minister Syed Shibli Faraz, Faisal Saleem Rehman, Mohsin Aziz, Zeeshan Khanzada and Liaqat Khan Tarakai, are contesting for general seats from the province.
Besides, Maulana Attaur Rehman and Tariq Khattak of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Hidayatullah Khan of the Awami National Party, former federal minister Abbas Afridi of the PML-N, Attaur Rehman of the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and Taj Mohammad Afridi of the BAP are also running for general seats from the province.
Govt claims ruling PTI will win 11 seats
The PTI will support BAP’s Taj Mohammad Afridi for general seat in exchange for his party’s support for its candidates on technocrat and women seats.
On technocrat seat, Dost Mohammad Khan and Mohammad Humayun Khan Mohmand of the PTI, Farhatullah Babar of the PPP, Mohammad Iqbal Khalil of the JI and Dr Shaukat Jamal Amirzada of the ANP are contesting for two technocrat seats from the province.
On two women seats, special assistant to the prime minister Sania Nishtar and Falak Naz of PTI, MPA Naeema Kishwar of the JUI-F, Tasleem Begum of the ANP and former MNA Inayat Begum of the JI are in the running, while on the single minority seat, Gurdeep Singh of the PTI, Ranjeet Singh of the JUI-F, former MPA Asif Bhatti of the ANP and Javed Gill of the JI face each other.
After scrutiny last week, the candidature of 11 candidates was rejected leaving behind 41 in the electoral fray out of 51, who had submitted nomination papers for Senate seats.
Those, who withdrew nomination papers, included PPP’s Farhatullah Babar, who retired from contesting on general seat.
Besides him, PTI’s Nasrullah Khan Wazir, Dost Mohammad Khan, Najiullah Khattak, Meena Khan, Mohammad Rizwan Khan, Hamidul Haq and Meena Khan withdrew nominations for general seats.
On women seat, PTI’s Farzana Javed, PPP’s Shazia Tehmash Khan, BAP’s Musarrat Jabeen and PML-N’s Farah Khan were among those, quit the arena.
On technocrat seat, Hamidul Haq and Dilroz Khan of the PTI and sitting senator and independent candidate Mohammad Ali Saif left the electoral battle.
On the single minority seat from the province, PTI’s Araish Kumar left his bid for the upper house.
Polling for 12 Senate seats from the province will be held on Mar 3 inside the provincial assembly’s building here.
Currently, the ruling PTI has 94 members in the 145-strong provincial assembly, JUI-F 15, ANP 12, PML-N seven, PPP five, BAP four, Jamaat-i-Islami three and PML-Q one, while independent members total four.
Meanwhile, spokesman for the provincial government Kamran Khan Bangash issued a statement claiming the ruling PTI will win 11 of the 12 Senate seats from the province.
He insisted that some opposition members were in contact with the ruling party.
“Some members are desirous of development work in their respective constituencies, while the others have set their eyes on the PTI tickets for the next general elections,” he said.
Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2021