Senate Elections in Balochistan
By Malik Siraj Akbar
As the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) efforts to field consensus candidates in the Senate elections fizzed out after the disagreement between various coalition component parties, Balochistan legislators will vote today for eleven vacant Senate seats for which 37 candidates are contesting.
The provincial election commission Sonu Khan will serve as the presiding officer of the Senate Elections for which polling would commence today (Wednesday) at around nine in the morning and continue uninterrupted till 16:00pm.
20 candidates from various parties are contesting the elections for seven general seats of the upper house of the parliament. Ten women have joined the electoral race to fight for two seats reserved for women while there are seven candidates contesting for two vacant seats of the Ulema and technocrats.
Fifty-one candidates had initially submitted their nomination papers for the electoral battle. Two of the candidates got their papers rejected by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) while seven of the aspirant contenders decided to withdraw their nomination papers in favor of other leaders after reaching seat-to-seat adjustment.
Today’s election on the seven vacant general seats for the Senate elections include five candidates from the Pakistan People’s Party, five independent candidates, ten from the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-Fazal), two from the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Quaid-e-Azam) and one from the Balochistan National Party (BNP-Awami). The ten women contestants for the two seats include two from the PPP and five independent candidates. In addition, the BNP-Awami, JUI-F and PML-Q have nominated one female candidate for the elections.
On the two seats to be contest for the seats reserved for technocrats and Ulema, the seven candidates belong to the PPP (two candidates) and PML-Q (2). The BNP-A and JUI-F have fielded one candidate each for the seats for Ulema and technocrat while one candidate is contesting the polls as an independent candidate.
The ruling PPP leaders had tired hard to bring consensus candidates in Balochistan on the lines of Sindh and North West Frontier Province but the component parties in the coalition could not reach an agreement due to differences between the allies on a number of issues. An interesting part of the Senate elections in Balochistan is the participation of Mir Hasil Khan Bizanjo, a leading Baloch nationalist leader from the National Party (NP). The NP had boycotted the general elections in protest as they were held under Pervez Musharraf, the former President of Pakistan.
Last month, as many as eleven senators from Balochistan retired after completing their six-year stint. These included four senators from the PML-Q: Agha Pari Gul, Kulsoom Perveen, Mir Naseer Khan Mengal and Wali Mohammad Badani. Three Senators from the JUI, including Kamran Murtaza, Liquat Ali Bungalzai and Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri. Two senators from the Pashtoonkhawa Milli Awami Party (PkMP), Nawab Mohammad Ayaz Khan Jogazai and Raza Mohammad Raza while one senator from the PPP and BNP retired last night.