KARACHI: As predicted, the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party bagged seven, instead of six, Senate seats in disproportion to its numeric strength in the Sindh Assembly because of alleged defections within the rank of a three-party opposition alliance that won four remaining seats on Wednesday.
Amid strict security arrangements taken to avoid recurrence of Tuesday’s ugly episode in the house, polling for total 11 Senate seats in Sindh was held peacefully and 167 members exercised their right of vote.
Based on their numeric strength in the 168-strong house, it was expected that the PPP, with 99 votes, would win six seats and the three-party opposition alliance, having 65 votes, comprising Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) would get five seats.
But when the unofficial results came, it appeared that cracks within the opposition favoured the PPP as it won seven seats.
‘Disgruntled’ PTI MPAs arrive at the house with PPP lawmakers
The ruling party in the province had fielded 11 candidates on all 11 seats but seven of them — five on general seats and one each on seats reserved for women and technocrats — had emerged victorious.
Four of the five candidates nominated by the PTI, MQM-P and GDA won the election on two general seats and one each reserved for women and technocrats. According to unofficial and unconfirmed results, PPP’s successful candidates on general seats are Sherry Rehman, Saleem Mandviwalla, Jam Mahtab Hussain Dahar, Taj Haider and Shahadat Awan. Palwasha Khan and Farooq H. Naek won the election on women and technocrat seats, respectively.
The two successful candidates of the joint opposition on general seats are Syed Faisal Ali Subzwari (MQM-P) and Faisal Vawda (PTI). PTI’s Saifullah Abro and MQM-P’s Khalida Ateeb returned successful on reserved seats for technocrats and women, respectively.
The opposition’s fifth candidate, Pir Sadruddin Shah of the GDA, lost the election because of defections within the ranks of the PTI. The total number of votes of the joint opposition in the house was 65 but its three candidates on as many general seats got total 57 votes.
Likewise, the opposition’s candidates on technocrat and women seats also got 57 votes each. The PPP got five extra votes on technocrat seat and seven extra votes on women seat.
The number of rejected votes on general, women and technocrat seats were six, four and three votes.
While the lone MPA of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), Abdul Rashid, stayed away from the election process, three lawmakers belonging to the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) cast their ballots in favour of their lone candidate, Yasha Ullah Afghan, on a technocrat seat.
Earlier, polling began at 9am in the Sindh Assembly and continued without any interval till 5pm. PPP’s Shabbir Ali Sanjrani was the first to cast his vote.
The MPAs came to the house to cast their votes in the form of groups. Two disgruntled PTI lawmakers, Shaharyar Shar and Aslam Abro, came to the house along with PPP lawmakers.
Since polling was held on the basis of secret ballot, the Election Commission of Pakistan had prohibited voters from bringing their mobile phones or cameras to the house.
However, PTI’s Khurram Sher Zaman brought his phone with him when he came to cast his ballot. When a woman lawmaker of the ruling party pointed it out the returning officer stopped him from casting vote and sent him outside the hall. Later, he came back and cast his ballot.
Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2021