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March 5, 2015

Senate and its members


March 5, 2015

LAHORE: As the much-publicised ballot exercise to fill up as many as 52 or half of the Senate seats in Pakistan is due to be conducted Thursday (today), the ruling PML-N has interestingly fielded two retired Lieutenant Generals –Abdul Qayuum and Salahuddin Tirmizi — for representation in the Upper House of the Parliament. Among the retiring senators, some 21 hail from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), eight PML-N and six Awami National Party (ANP).
Similarly, AMONG the senators who are due to relinquish charge shortly, three are Muttahida Qaumi Movement die-hards, three JUI-F lieutenants and two are members of the Balochistan National Party (Awami).
The list of retiring senators also includes one key PML-Q leader, one Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party member and one National Party stalwart.Moreover, six independent senators, including four from Fata, will also be formally bidding adieu to the Senate in a few days time from now.
The retiring senators include some prominent faces like Farooq H Naek, Rehman Malik, Raja Zafarul Haq, Babar Ghouri, Mushahidullah Khan, Jahangir Badar, Maula Bux Chandio, Pervez Rashid, Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Sughra Imam, Salim Mandviwala, Islamuddin Sheikh, Gul Muhammad Lot, Almas Perveen , Gulzar Ahmed Khan, Waqar Ahmed Khan, Nayyar Bokhari, Chaudhry Jaffar Iqbal, Najma Hameed, Sardar Yaqoob Nasir, Dr Saeeda Iqbal, Sardar Ali Khan, Adnan Khan, Farhat Abbas, Mir Yousuf Badini , Surriya Amiruddin, Hasil Bizenjo, Qayyum Soomro, Sabir Baloch, Ch. Shujaat Hussain, Syed Zafar Ali Shah, Sajid Mir, Kalsoom Parveen, Abdul Nabi Bangash, Humayun Mandokhel, Haji Ghulam Ali, Abbas Khan Afridi, Afrasiab Khattak, Haji Adeel, Abdul Haseeb Khan and Zahid Khan etc. Collected from numerous newspaper/electronic media archives and Senate’s website, here follow some other important details about the Upper House, its history, members, prominent retirimng faces and the mode of election:
The tenure of a Pakistani senator lasts for six years, but

elections are held within the duration of three years – when one half of the members of the Upper House retire after completion of their tenure.
During the last 42 years, membership of Pakistan’s Upper House of Parliamenthas swelled from just 45 in 1973 to 104 in 2015. The Senate membership was raised to 63 in 1977 and to 87 in 1985.
During General Pervez Musharraf’s reign, through the Legal Framework Order 2002, the membership of the Senate was increased from 87 to 100.And then the Asif Zardari-led Pakistan People’s Party regime had raised the membership of the Senate from 100 to 104 through the 19th amendment in 2011, as four minority members from four provinces were added.
Under Article 59 of the 1973 Constitution, each province sends 23 members to the Senate. These include 14 on general seats, four technocrats, four women and one minority member. The National Assembly elects four members including two on general seats, while one each for women and technocrats.
Not fewer than 168 members from the Sindh Assembly will elect seven members on general seats of the house and two seats reserved for women and technocrats each. In Sindh Assembly, a senator needs 24 member votes to get elected on general seat.
The total number of members in Punjab assembly has been 371, meaning thereby that 53 members have to elect one Senator on a general seat.In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, for the seven general Senate seats, 17 votes will be required to win each available slot.
For the seven general Senate seats available in Balochistan, a nod of nine sitting legislatures will be needed to emerge victorious.
For electoral success on the two seats reserved for women and technocrats each, half the number of the members in each provincial assembly will be needed to take part in electoral process. For the one single seat available for minorities from each province, a simple majority has to be obtained.
During the 2008 Senate elections, the then ruling PPP had bagged 39 cumulative seats, the PML-N had won 15 (in minority), the Awami National Party had eight (backing PPP in majority), both MQM and JUI-F had seven apiece (supporting PPP), PML-Q had managed to get five of its loyalists elected to the Upper House (standing with PPP) and the Baluchistan National Party had four representatives (siding with PML-N in minority).
Meanwhile, the National Party and Pakistan Muslim League (Functional) had a solitary seat each (siding with PPP) and as many as 11 independent candidates had also succeeded to emerge triumphant, only to support the PPP regime.During the 2008 Senate polls, the PPP Secretariat had received more than 450 applications when only five of its senators were due to retire in March 2012!

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