N gains control of Senate, say media


The Senate - the Upper House of parliament - is a body of 104 lawmakers.

In the elections, 5 candidates from Islamabad are contesting on 2 seats, 20 candidates from Punjab on 12 seats, 33 candidates from Sindh on 12 seats, 26 candidates from KPK on 11 seats, 23 candidates from Balochistan for 11 seats, and 24 candidates from FATA on 4 seats.

Bizenjo, elected as the province's chief minister following a no-confidence against the PML-N led provincial government on January 13, has said that his party is willing to hold talks with all parties in the larger interest of their province.

While the move is an anticipated one, keeping in view that FATA senators tend to tilt towards the ruling party after elections, it is pertinent to note that parliamentarians from the PML-N had abstained from voting in Senate polls for FATA held on March 3. Each senator serves a term of six years, barring resignation, disqualification, or other extraordinary circumstances.

A Senate panel, couple of years ago, while rebuffing the idea of direct elections to choose Senators had unanimously adopted a set of recommendations conferring on political parties the right to verify if any of their National Assembly or Provincial Assembly members voted against the party for financial gain.

The three PML-N-backed independent candidates in the run for two technocrat seats include former finance minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar.

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There were 65 independent candidates including 23 from the PML-N. PKMAP has 11 lawmakers, JUI-F eight, while PML-Q has five seats.

Among the smaller parties, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazal, National Party and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami party each won two seats, Jamati-e-Islami, Muthahida Qaumi Movement and Pakistan Muslim League Functional each got one seat.

The PML-N has not spoken about amending the constitution, but it has been on a collision course with the judiciary since the Supreme Court ousted Sharif from power.

Unlike the last Senate elections in 2015, lawmakers were not even allowed to take their cellphones into the assemblies during the vote. 53 votes are needed for Chairman and Deputy Chairman.

Nearly all political parties had expressed dismay at the election laws of Senate and promised to improve them.

Imran Khan had said his party would work to introduce direct elections for senators to root out corruption and use of money.