Polling underway in Senate elections: Media barred from coverage in NA, KP

KARACHI: Polling for Senate seats went underway in the national and provincial assemblies on Thursday as 132 candidates contest for 48 seats in the Upper House of Parliament.

54f7d7af8709dAccording to the Election Commission of Pakistan, 84 candidates will contest for 33 general seats from the provinces, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the federal capital, 22 for eight seats reserved for women from the provinces and the federal capital and 18 for eight seats reserved for technocrats, including ulema. Eight candidates will contest for two seats reserved for minorities — one each from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

No person entering the assemblies’ premises would be allowed to carry their cellphones or any other electronic devices with them as per the ECP’s directives.

The provincial assemblies had been declared polling stations for the respective provinces and the National Assembly for four senators from Fata and two from Islamabad.

The hall of the respective assemblies have been designated as the polling stations. Separate pollings stations have been formed in the National Assembly for the election of four senators from Fata and two from Islamabad.

The ruling PML-N and the main opposition PPP are expected to secure almost equal representation in the Upper House. The number of seats each party is expected to win is 25, but any behind-the-scenes moves can bolster the position of either party to enable it to clinch the offices of chairman and deputy chairman of the Senate.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf is set to make history by getting representation in the Upper House for the first time. The Jamaat-i-Islami, which had lost representation in the Senate in 2012 after it boycotted the 2008 general elections, is expected to make a comeback.

The Senate comprises of 104 members — 23 each from the four provinces, eight from Fata and four from Islamabad. The seats allocated to a province comprise 14 general seats, four reserved for women, four for technocrats and one for a minority member.

The election for half of the Senate seats takes place every three years.

Media personnel, including that of state-owned PTV, have been barred from entering the National and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly as part of security arrangements. Journalists have not been allowed to carry their cameras and were expelled from the press galleries of respective assemblies.

A Punjab Member of Provincial Assembly, Sobia Anwar Satti, who belongs to the PML-N and was elected on a seat reserved for women fell sick while the elections for the Senate seats were being conducted in the Punab Assembly.

Rescue 1122 teams reached the spot and shifted the ailing MPA on a stretcher to an ambulance which rushed her to a nearby hospital for treatment.