Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin on Thursday filed his nomination papers for a vacant Senate seat from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Last month, PTI's Muhammad Ayub Afridi submitted his resignation as member of the upper house to Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani and vacated his seat. According to media reports, the government wanted to get Tarin elected to Senate on the seat vacated by Afridi to ensure he can become the finance minister again.
Tarin's lawyer filed the nomination papers at the Election Commission of Pakistan's (ECP) Peshawar Office. Provincial ministers Taimur Saleem Jhagra and Kamran Khan Bangash were Tarin's proposer and seconder, respectively.
Speaking to the media, Bangash said that all kinds of people lived in the province, adding that Tarin's "roots" were from KP. "People from other political parties have also gotten Senate tickets from KP," he said.
He added that Tarin's vote was registered in Mardan and that his wife also belonged to the province.
Polling for the vacant Senate seat will be held in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Dec 20. As per the schedule, the candidates will file their nomination papers with the returning officer from Nov 30 till Dec 2, while the names of the nominated candidates will be published on Dec 3.
The last date for the scrutiny of nomination papers is Dec 6, while appeals can be filed against acceptance or rejection of nominations by Dec 8. Dec 10 has been fixed as the last date for the disposal of appeals by the tribunal, while the returning officer will publish the revised list of candidates on Dec 11. Candidates can withdraw their candidature by Dec 13.
Tarin was appointed as the finance minister on April 17 and his constitutional tenure ended on October 16 after which he was appointed as the finance adviser to the PM. According to the Constitution, in order to continue as the finance minister for longer than six months, Tarin needed to be elected to parliament.
Sources close to Tarin had earlier told Dawn that the government's first priority was to get him elected to the upper house on PML-N leader Ishaq Dar's seat — which has virtually remained vacant in his absence — but a plan-B was also in place to get a Senate seat vacated from KP for his election because of some uncertainties.
Informed sources later said it was decided that Afridi would resign to create a seat for Tarin in KP. Tarin’s national identity card had to be changed with a KP address followed by registration in the voter list, to qualify for senatorship from that province.
The government had previously tried to get former finance minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, who was also not a member of parliament, elected to the Senate.
Shaikh was appointed as the finance minister in December 2020 and was the government's candidate for the hotly contested general seat from Islamabad in March's Senate elections.
But in a blow to the government, Shaikh lost to the joint opposition candidate Yousuf Raza Gilani — a result which led PM Imran to seek a vote of confidence from the National Assembly to show he still held the majority.
Shaikh was later removed as finance minister on March 29 and was replaced with PTI's Hammad Azhar, who was shortly replaced with Tarin.