Polling for the selection of 45 members of Senate has begun on Friday, DawnNews reported. – File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Counting of votes was underway as polling for 45 Senate seats ended on Friday in four provincial assemblies and the National Assembly, DawnNews reported.

According to unofficial results from Sindh, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) led with seven seats, while the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) secured four and Pakistan Mulsim League - Functional (PML-F) secured one seat.

Meanwhile, unofficial results from Punjab put the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) in the lead as they secured four seats so far, while the PPP bagged two seats.

Newly elected Senators will replace the 50 outgoing Senators who retire on March 12 after completing their six-year terms in office.

Election for 50 Senate seats are held after every three years, but this time 54 senators will be elected because four seats – one in each province – have been reserved for minorities under the 18th Amendment.

As the ECP on Thursday had declared nine candidates as having already been elected uncontested, polling was held on 45 seats including the four newly added seats for minorities to the Upper House.

Eight candidates were in the run for seven general seats each in Sindh and Punjab.

In Balochistan, 19 candidates were in the run for seven general seats, nine for two women seats, eight for two technocrat seats and five for one seat for minorities.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 13 candidates contested for seven general seats, three for two women seats, six for two technocrat seats and two for one minorities’ seat.

In the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), 11 candidates were in the run for four general seats.

Allegations of rigging

Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly (NA), Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that seats in the Senate elections were being “publicly auctioned”.

Speaking to reporters outside the NA earlier on Friday, Nisar expressed his dismay at the use of money to influence the ongoing ongoing Senate electons, and suggested that the "bad fish" not only be expelled from Parliament, but also thrown out of politics completely.

However, Khyber Pakthunkhwa Minister, Bashir Ahmed Bilour said that a comprehensive strategy had been adopted to stop horse trading in Senate election in Khyber Pakthunkhwa. Rejecting the “propaganda of some private channels” regarding horse trading in the election, Bilour urged for positive and healthy reporting.

Federal Minister for Water and Power, Syed Naveed Qamar expressed the hope that every political party in parliament will get seats as per their strength, saying the Senate elections would make democracy stronger.

Elected uncontested

At least nine candidates had already been elected unopposed.

The Election Commission notified the uncontested election of Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan of the PPP and Ishaq Dar of the PML-N on the two seats reserved for technocrats, Nuzhat Sadiq of the PML-N and Khalida Parveen of the PPP on two seats reserved for women and Kamran Michael of the PML-N on one seat reserved for minorities, from Punjab.

Mushahid Hussain Sayed on the PML-Q and Osman Saifullah Khan of the PPP have been declared elected on technocrat and general seats respectively, from Islamabad.

Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh (PPP) and Mohammad Farogh Naseem (MQM) have been elected unopposed on the two seats reserved for technocrats from Sindh.

 

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