PESHAWAR: The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) swept the Senate elections from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by winning 10 of the 12 seats of the Upper House of Parliament on Wednesday.
The PTI clinched five general seats, two of technocrats and women each and one of minorities from the province, while the opposition Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) and Awami National Party (ANP) claimed one general seat each.
However, the government’s ally, Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), failed to secure any Senate seat.
The general seats went to federal information minister Shibli Faraz, Mohsin Aziz, Liaqat Tarakai, Faisal Saleem Rehman and Zeeshan Khanzada of the PTI, Maulana Attaur Rehman of the JUI-F and Haji Hidayatullah Khan of the ANP.
On technocrat seat, PTI’s Dost Mohammad Mehsud and Humayun Mohmand emerged winners by securing 59 and 49 votes, respectively. Farhatullah Babar of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), who was backed by the joint opposition, lost polls.
On women’s seats, PTI’s Sania Nishtar and Falak Naz Chitrali won polls. Gurdeep Singh of the PTI claimed the minority seat by securing 103 votes.
CM insists opposition failed to ‘buy’ loyalty of ruling party members
PML-N’s Abbas Afridi and BAP’s Taj Mohammad Afridi lost election for general seats.
Meanwhile, voting for the Senate elections was held inside the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly smoothly on Wednesday setting to rest all speculations about the use of money and wheeling and dealing among political parties.
The assembly building, which was declared polling station for the election, witnessed hustle and bustle amid stringent security arrangements in and outside the premises.
The police, Frontier Corps and Frontier Constabulary personnel were deployed.
Interestingly, rumours were rife that JUI-F candidate Maulana Attaur Rehman would lose election. However, they turned out to be untrue as Mr Rehman remained victorious.
Provincial Election Commissioner Sharifullah was the returning officer for the election for which polling began at 9am.
A total of 145 MPAs cast votes. Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal member Hidayatur Rehman cast the first vote followed by his colleague, Inayatullah Khan.
The returning officer issued fresh ballot papers to thirteen lawmakers of the ruling and opposition parties after they inadvertently spoiled their first ballot papers. Those, who were given ballot papers twice, included Sumaira Shamus, Sirajuddin, agriculture minister Muhibullah, Sharafat, Munawar Khan, Arif Wazir, Fazal Hakim, Sajida Hanif, Momina Basit, Mohammad Ali, Qalandar Lodhi, Mohammad Iqbal and Aisha Naeem.
The voting progressed very slowly as the lawmakers roamed in lobbies and outside the polling station instead of casting votes.
Until 5pm, the official closing time for polling, 112 lawmakers polled their votes as the rest were present inside the polling station, so the returning officer allowed them to cast their votes.
The PTI has 94 members in the 145-strong KP Assembly followed by the JUI-F’s 15, ANP’s 12, PML-N’s seven, PPP’s five, Pakistan Muslim League’s one, BAP’s four and four independents.
Interestingly, the opposition Jamaat-i-Islami abstained from the election in the National Assembly but took part in the electoral process in KP with its three MPAs casting their votes. It had struck a deal with the opposition parties in the province, so it contested election on the seat reserved for women.
Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, Opposition Leader Akram Khan Durrani, Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani and Deputy Speaker Mahmood Jan also cast their vote. Opposition Leader Akram Durrani declared March 3 the ‘day of revenge’.
“Today is the day of revenge. The opposition will achieve its goals in the Senate elections” he said.
Mr Durrani said former prime minister and PDM candidate for Senate election for Islamabad seat Yusuf Raza Gilani was a product of the democratic process, while his rival and minister Hafeez Sheikh was an employee of the International Monetary Fund, who had come to Pakistan on deputation only.
Chief Minister Mahmood Khan told reporters that the ruling PTI would secure at least 10 seats from KP.
He said the ruling party and its allies had a clear majority of 102 votes.
Mr Mahmood said the opposition made futile efforts to buy loyalty of the PTI lawmakers.
“Our votes are intact and not a single MPA will change his loyalty,” he said.
Replying to a question, the chief minister said he had expelled minister Liaqat Khattak from his cabinet over his poor performance.
Mr Liaqat, a younger brother of defence minister Pervez Khattak, had supported the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz candidate against the ruling PTI’s nominee in the recent high-voltage by-election in Nowshera. The PML-N candidate won the election.
Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2021