Senate by-polls: Voting begins on 6 seats from Sindh, Balochistan, Islamabad

Senate by-polls

KARACHI: The ruling alliance is set to grab the most seats in today’s by-election being held on six Senate seats that fell vacant from Sindh, Balochistan and Islamabad.

These six seats, voting for which has started on Thursday, had fallen vacant under Article 223 of the Constitution which prohibits lawmakers from holding dual membership.

The sub-section 4 of the article states: “Subject to clause (2) if a member of either House or of a Provincial Assembly becomes a candidate for a second sear which, in accordance with clause (1), he may not hold concurrently with his first seat, then his first seat shall become vacant as soon as he is elected to the second seat.”

The polling to fill two vacant general seats in the upper house from Sindh will be held at the Sindh Assembly building from 9am to 4pm where Pakistan People’s Party has fielded Jam Saifullah Khan Dharejo and Muhammad Aslam Abro against Nazeerullah and Shazia Sohail of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC).

The by-polls are being held to fill the Sindh-based seats in the Senate that became vacant after the PPP’s senators Nisar Ahmed Khuhro and Jam Mehtab Dahar became members of the Sindh Assembly in the February 8 general elections.

Provincial Election Commissioner, Sindh, Sharifullah, has been acting as the returning officer for the by-election.

Meanwhile, a total of seven candidates have been in the running for three general seats of the Senate from Balochistan on which the by-polls will be held.

These candidates are Syed Mahmood Shah (Independent), Abdul Shakoor Khan (Independent), Abdul Qudoos (PPP), Kauda Babar (Balochistan Awami Party), Muhammad Mobeen Khilji (Balochistan Awami Party), Mir Hair Bayar Khan Domki (Independent) and Mir Dostain Khan Domki (PMLN).

These three Senate seats became vacant after senators Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Sarfraz Ahmed Bugti and Prince Ahmad Umar Ahmadzai became members of the National and Balochistan assemblies in the February 8 general elections.

Haideri belongs to Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), while Bugti and Ahmadzai belong to the Balochistan Awami Party.

A day earlier, the leaders of JUI-F and PPP held talks and decided to support each other’s candidates in the Senate by-polls.

The PPP sought JUI-F’s support for its candidate from Islamabad while JUI-F sought backing for its candidate in the Senate by-polls in Balochistan.

Independent candidate Abdul Shakoor Khan in the Balochistan by-polls is backed by the JUI-F.

The polling for Senate by-polls will be held at the Balochistan Assembly building from 9am to 4pm.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly will elect one senator from Islamabad today (Thursday) on a general seat that fell vacant after PPP’s Senator Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani was elected as MNA in the Feb 8 elections.

PPP’s Gilani is a joint candidate of the ruling coalition of six parties on the seat and against him, the SIC has fielded Ilyas Mehrban — a veteran PTI member.

The former premier is also being tipped for the top Senate slot.