LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan People's Party (PPP) have finalised their candidates for Senate elections to be held on March 7. The names will be announced by February 8.
The PML-N and the PPP are trying their best to ensure the win of a maximum number of candidates. For the Senate chairman, the real contest is between the two major political parties. The target of the two parties is members of the Balochistan Assembly, whose votes have become more important after a political change in the province. However, the PML-N will have an edge over other parties in Punjab, the PPP in Sindh and the PTI in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) in the Senate elections.
Votes of Balochistan and FAT parliamentarians will also play a key role in making the PML-N or PPP candidates successful. That is why both parties are making an all-out effort to support of FATA and Balochistan Assembly members. The PML-N can win 11 out of 12 seats in Punjab while the opposition will get only one seat. From Punjab, Ishaq Dar, Asif Kirmani, Kamran Michel, Saood Majid and Syed Mushahid Hussain are most likely to get PML-N tickets; however, the party’s parliamentary board will make the final decision.
Ishaq Dar has been a senator and federal finance minister since 2003. Earlier, he was an MNA. He is also father-in-law of daughter of PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif. Senator Kamran Michel was earlier elected an MPA on a minority seat and was made provincial minister and then elected as senator and enjoys the portfolio of federal minister. Mushahid Hussain Syed has been the PML-Q secretary general and senator until recently. He has been a close aide to Nawaz Sharif but during the period of the Sharif family's exile, he was among friends of Pervez Musharraf and also served as a federal information. Now he has rejoined the PML-N after quitting the PML-Q. Mushahid Hussain is playing a key role in Pakistan-China friendship.
Senator Asif Saeed Kirmani is son of Syed Ahmed Saeed Kirmani, who had been a minister in President Ayub's cabinet. He is a confidant of Nawaz Sharif. He was elected to the Senate after a seat was vacated by the PPP's Dr Zahiruddin Baber a few months back. Senator Saood Majid belongs to Bahawalpur. His father Abdul Majid Chaudhry had been a member of the Punjab Assembly and mayor of Bahawalpur. He was elected to the Senate after Punjab Governor Malik Rafiq Rajwana vacated his seat. Among women, Begum Ishrat Ashraf and Begum Tehmina Daultana are strong candidates.
Begum Ishrat Ashraf has been the PML-N women wing president. She belongs to a family of seasoned politicians. Her father-in-law Chaudhry Iqbal Chilianwala had been elected an MNA many times while her husband Jaffer Iqbal was deputy speaker of the National Assembly. They are among close aides Nawaz Sharif.
His daughter Zaib Jafri is a Member of the National Assembly and son Umer Jaffer is a Member of the Punjab Assembly whereas Begum Tehmina Daultana is a a Member of the National Assembly. She belongs to a big political family of Vehari. She is niece of former Chief Minister Mumtaz Muhammad Daultana and daughter of the late MNA Mian Riaz Daultana. She has been elected MNA many times.
Senator Zafarullah Danhdala belongs to Bhakkar. He was an MNA in 2012 he was elected as a senator for the first time. Ch Muhammad Serwar of the PTI is a former Punjab governor. He came to Pakistan after giving up his British nationality. He was also a Member of the British Parliament.
PML-Q candidate Kamil Ali Agha was the mayor of Lahore in the first tenure of the PML-N government. Now he is the PML-Q information secretary and was elected as a senator in 2012. Pir Sabir Ali Shah belongs to KP. He is an aspirant of a PML-N ticket. He comes from a religious family of Sirikot. He remained PML-N KP president and chief minister.
Rubina Khalid is a hopeful of a PPP ticket from KP. She was close to the late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. She is a senator of the PPP. The PPP has hinted at awarding tickets to three candidates including former Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Nawab Shahzad Ali Khan and Nawazish Pirzada. Hina Rabbani Khar belongs to the Khar family of Muzaffargarh. Her father is a PPP MNA. She is niece of former Punjab Governor Ghulam Mustafa Khar but their political ways have always been different.
Nawab Shahzad Ali belongs to Muzaffargarh. He is a relative of the late Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan and son-in-law of former Punjab Chief Minister Mian Manzoor Wattoo. He is an industrialist and former president of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industries (LCCI).
PPP candidates from Sindh include Mualah Bakhsh Jandio, who former PPP MP and current PPP spokesman. Mian Raza Rabbani is a strong candidate. He is a PPP stalwart and an outspoken parliamentarian. He is current Senate chairman. Khawar Javaid belongs to Karachi. He is son of PPP leader ND Khan. Murtaza Wahab is a law expert. He was elected senator on a seat vacated by Saeed Ghani. Nasreen Jalil is the founding member of the MQM. She has been Naib Nazim of Karachi. Farog Naseem is a law expert. He is a MQM senator.
The PTI has announced a ticket to Muhammad Azam Khan Sawati. He is an international businessman. He belongs to a rich family of KP. He started his political career as a member of assembly for the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI). Later, he joined the PTI and was elected as a senator. Rana Faisal Javed Khan is among close aides to Imran Khan. He is known for his unique style as stage secretary in PTI gatherings. Advertising is his profession. Ayub Khan Afridi also belongs to a rich family of KP. Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam’s nominated candidates include ex-member of assembly Mulana Gul Naseeb of Bannu whereas Talha Mehmood is already a senator of the party. Khayal Zaman Aurzai is a PTI member of assembly from Hangu and he is a billionaire. Dr Mehar Taj is deputy speaker of the KP Assembly and advisor to the CM. Fida Muhammad Khan is brother of ex-federal minister Nisar Ahmad Khan. He left the PML-N to join the PTI.