‘N’ picks outsiders, PTI pushes hawks for Senate polls

Published March 17, 2024
This photo combo shows ex-caretaker PM Anwaarul Haq Kakar, Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi and Finance Minister Aurangzeb Khan. — File photos
This photo combo shows ex-caretaker PM Anwaarul Haq Kakar, Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi and Finance Minister Aurangzeb Khan. — File photos

• 22 including Naqvi, Aurangzeb submit nomination papers from Punjab
• 35 papers filed from Sindh, 42 from KP, 36 from Balochistan

ISLAMABAD: Nominations for the 48 Senate seats up for grabs came as a bolt from the blue, with the ruling PML-N supporting “outsiders” and the PTI choosing hawks for the upper house elections scheduled for April 2.

Those who submitted nomination papers to send shockwaves within the party include former caretaker prime minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar, former Punjab caretaker chief minister and sitting Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi, Finance Minister Aurangzeb Khan, former adviser to prime minister Ahad Cheema, and Mustafa Ramday, son of former chief justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday.

The submission of nomination papers by these individuals were surprising for the public and disturbing for many in the party.

A PML-N leader told Dawn on condition of anonymity that the decision to bring in outsiders at the cost of loyalists was shocking for many. “There is a strong resentment within the party over the decision,” he said.

He said the party this time deviated from the tradition of inviting applications from the candidates and all the arrangements had been made behind the scenes. He said prominent PML-N figures who have been ignored include Khawaja Saad Rafique, Rana Sanaullah, Khurram Dastgir and Javed Latif.

On behalf of ex-PM Kakar, Senator Danesh Kumar submitted the nomination papers for a general seat from Balochistan. The members of the Balochistan Assembly will on April 2 elect 11 senators — seven for general seats, two for women, and two technocrats.

Punjab

In all, 22 candidates of different parties filed their nomination for Senate elections from Punjab until Saturday, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said.

Mr Naqvi, Mr Aurangzeb and Mr Cheema are set to become senators with the support of PML-N and its allies. Interestingly, none of the three showed any intention to join the Sharifs’ party.

“The PML-N leadership has directed its lawmakers to vote for them while its allied parties have also assured these three of their support to get them elected from Punjab,” a PML-N insider said.

He said the Sharifs did not seek applications from the party persons for the Senate polls “out of embarrassment”, knowing that they had to adjust “outsiders” on the direction of the powers that be.

Although Mohsin Naqvi’s name was proposed for a general seat in the Senate, he preferred to file the nomination papers as an independent candidate. Mr Aurangzeb and Mr Cheema followed suit, with the former filing papers as a technocrat and the latter on a general seat.

Mustafa Ramday filed papers for a technocrat seat as a PML-N candidate. Pervaiz Rashid, a Sharifs’ loyalist who was ousted from the Senate election race three years ago for different reasons, finally got the chance to submit papers on a general seat. Anusha Rahman has submitted papers for woman’s seat.

Punjab Minister for Human Rights Tahir Khalil Sandhu filed papers for a minority seat. Musadik Malik submitted nomination papers for general as well as for technocrat seats. Sharif’s close aide Nasir Mehmood Butt and PML-N leader Talal Chaudhry submitted their papers on a general seat.

On the other hand, PTI leaders Hamid Khan and Zulfi Bukhari are vying for general seats. Incarcerated PTI leaders Sanam Javed and Dr Yasmin Rashid submitted papers on woman and technocrat seats, respectively. Raja Nasir Abbas of the MWM has also filed papers.

Sindh

As many as 35 candidates of different political parties, including PPP, MQM-Pakistan and the SIC as well as independents have submitted their nomination papers for the upcoming Senate elections on 12 seats in Sindh.

The 12 seats comprise seven general, two each for women and technocrats and ulema, and one seat for non-Muslims.

According to the provincial election commissioner, 21 aspirants have filed papers for general seats, five for technocrats and ulema, six for women and three for the category of non-Muslims.

Najeeb Haroon, Mohammad Abu Bakar, Abdul Rauf Siddiqui, Shabbir Qaimkhani, Faisal Vawda, Amir Chishti, Humayun Sultan, Ashraf Jatoi, Syed Mansoor Ahsan and Jeean Khan Sarfaraz Rajpar, Nadeem Bhutto, Javed Ahmed Nayab, Dost Ali Jessar, Abdul Wahab, Ghanwer Ali Khan Isran, Mukhtiar Ahmed Dhamrah Aajiz, Ali Tahir, Mir Raja Khan Jakarani, Shahbaz Zaheer and Nighat Mirza have filed papers for general seats.

Zamir Hussain Ghumro, Sarmad Ali, Karim Ahmed Khawaja, Manzoor Bhutta and Abdul Wahab are the nominated candidates for the seats of technocrats and ulema.

For the category of women seat, Quratul Ain Marri, Rubina Qaimkhani, Yasmin Dadbhoy, Musarrat Nazir Niazi, Sabina Perveen and Mehjabeen Riaz have filed nomination papers. Poonjo, Sadhumal Surendar Valasai and Bhagwan Das are vying for the only seat reserved for non-Muslims.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

In KP, 42 candidates are in the run for 11 Senate seats, including 25 on seven general seats, 10 on two reser­ved seats for technocrats, and seven on two reserved seats for women.

The list of candidates finalised by the PTI shows that the party has chosen its “hawks” for the future politics. Some PTI’s candidates for Senate seats are either in jail or their nomination papers to contest Feb 8 elections had been rejected. Some of them remained underground or had to exit the country.

A party official told Dawn that Azam Swati and Murad Saeed wanted to contest the general elections, but their nomination papers were rejected. He said Mr Swati remained under arrest.

PTI leader Shoaib Shaheen told Dawn it was impossible to forget those who have rendered sacrifices for the party.

According to the party’s media wing, Imran Khan on Saturday approved several names as his party’s candidates for Senate elections.

Murad Saeed, Faisal Javed Khan, Mirza Afridi, Irfan Saleem and Khurram Zeeshan will be the party’s candidates for general seats from KP, while Azhar Mashwani would be the covering candidate of Murad Saeed.

Azam Swati and Irshad Hussain are the candidates for technocrat seats, while Ayesha Bano and Rubina Naz will contest for women’s seats in the province.

Balochistan

As many as 36 candidates of different parties and independents — including ex-PM Kakar, Aimal Wali Khan, and some former senators who retired on March 8 — have filed their nomination papers for 11 seats up for grab from Balochistan.

The 11 seats comprise seven general seats, two for technocrat and ulema, and two for reserved women, according to a spokesperson for the provincial election commission.

Jan Muhammad Buledi, Raheela Durrani, Amanullah Khan Kanrani, Saeedul Hassan Mandokhail, Mir Changaiz Jamali, Maulana Abdul Wasey, Kauda Babar and Maulana Abdul Haq Hashmi have also submitted their nomination papers.

For the two Senate seats from Islamabad, the PML-N and PPP reached a seat-adjustment agreement, following which Mehmoodul Hasan and Ishaq Dar filed their nomination papers. The SIC fielded Farzand Shah and Ansar Gilani as its candidates for the two seats.

Zulqernain Tahir in Lahore, Saleem Shahid in Quetta and Ishaq Tanoli in Karachi also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, March 17th, 2024

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