'Secret vote' begins for Pakistan senate elections

Voting for 52 Senate seats today

The PML-N was expected to replace the PPP as the largest party in the upper house after Saturday's election.

The polling was held in the national and four provincial assemblies of the country. A candidate in FATA having support of just three lawmakers can surely land in the upper house of Pakistan.

Candidates backed by the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) are leading in the elections to the Senate, the upper house of Parliament.

But the trickiest situation was in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) where 10 members of the National Assembly would elect four senators. The voting for senate elections will end at 4 pm on March 3.

Two seats are reserved for technocrats and five candidates are contesting for it.

Speaking to reporters outside the Sindh Assembly, MQM-P leader Farooq Sattar said that while his party yesterday claimed that they would win all four seats from Sindh, today he would be cautious and say that they are trying to win all four seats. Unlike the last senate elections in 2015, lawmakers were not even allowed to take their phones into the assemblies during the vote.

Prominent among those contesting polls from Punjab against the seven general seats from Punjab include former Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar on a PTI ticket, Kamil Ali Agha (PML-Q) and PML-N-backed Asif Kirmani, Musadik Malik, Haroon Akhtar Khan and Rana Mehmoodul Hassan.

In case of non-compliance the controlling officer will cancel the ballot paper of such persons.

New Senators are elected indirectly by provincial and national assemblies through proportional representation.

Four senators would be elected from FATA on general seats.

PML-N is likely to emerge the majority party in Senate after the elections.

The treasury benches are occupied by 221 members: the PML-N enjoys a majority with 187 members, while its allied JUI-F contributes another 14.

The official results will not immediately show how well PML-N has done because a number of candidates were barred from running under the party's banner after Sharif was removed from office.

Among prominent losers included Maulana Samiul Haq, known as the godfather of Taliban, who got just four votes in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assembly.

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

Pakistan held elections for its Senate to elect 52 members of the house for the next six years on Saturday amid strict measures to ensure transparency, the Election Commission said. The former minister, however, said that this is not the occasion to discuss party matters.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

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