Senate elections postponed in KP; polling underway in Sindh, Punjab assemblies

Domestic Secretary-CTP Passing-out of 51st CTP held at Civil Services Academy

SLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Tuesday postponed Senate elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after the Opposition members filed a plea seeking postponement due to a stand-off with the provincial government over oath-taking of MPAs-elect on the reserved seats.

On the other hand, polling was underway on the vacant seats of the Senate in the National Assembly and two provincial assemblies with the ruling alliance — comprising PML-N, PPP, MQM-P and other smaller parties — set to gain a two-thirds majority in the upper house of Parliament.

Polling started at 9am and will continue till 4pm at the National Assembly, Punjab Assembly and Sindh Assembly, while all the 11 candidates in Balochistan have been elected unopposed.

The polling was scheduled to be conducted to elect 48 senators, initially, 11 each from KP and Balochistan, 12 each from Punjab and Sindh and two from Islamabad.

However, after the unopposed election of 18 senators from Punjab and Balochistan, now the elections will be held for 30 vacant seats and 59 candidates are in the field to reach the Senate.

KP Opposition requests ECP to postpone Senate polls

While arrangements for Senate elections were complete in the KP assembly with Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) staff present to conduct polls, the Opposition members submitted an application to the provincial election commissioner for postponing the elections.

Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Ahmad Karim Kundi, in the plea, said 25 of his party’s members have not yet been sworn in and requested that the polls be postponed.

Upon the Opposition’s request, the provincial election commissioner has contacted Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja in this regard, sources told Geo News.

Instead of complying with the Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) recent order to administer the oath to the legislators-elect, KP Speaker Babar Saleem Swati filed a review petition with the court on the eve of the polling.

“All arrangements are in place to hold the electoral process. Regarding the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Election Commission will closely watch the related developments today prior to deciding the future course of action,” a senior official at the ECP, when approached over the telephone, told The News.

He pointed out that the electoral body stood by its order of delaying polling to fill the Senate’s vacant seats in KP if the oath was not administered to the MPAs-elect as per the PHC order.