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Senate elections: Gilani PDM’s candidate from Islamabad

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE/MULTAN: The country’s three major political parties — PTI, PPP and PML-N — have finalised the names of their candidates for the upcoming Senate elections, with the PDM nominating Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and Farhatullah Babar as its consensus candidates from Islamabad.

The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has finalised the names of 15 candidates, including Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh from Islamabad and Faisal Vawda from Sindh. Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry tweeted the names of 13 candidates, while two others were mentioned by the PTI’s Central Media Department.

Unlike other political parties, the ruling party has not invited formal applications from the aspirants. The 11-member parliamentary board is headed by Prime Minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

Fauzia Arshad and Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh would be the PTI candidates from Islamabad, while Saifullah Nyazee, Dr Zarqa and Barrister Ali Zafar have been named from Punjab. The remaining names will be announced later.

Similarly, Faisal Vawda will contest the Senate election from Sindh while Saifullah Abro will be the PTI candidate for the technocrat seat. Abdul Qadir’s name has been finalised from Balochistan. Vawda is facing a disqualification case in the Election Commission of Pakistan over his foreign nationality.

On the other hand, incumbent Senator from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz, Special Assistant on Poverty Alleviation Sania Nishtar, Mohsin Aziz, Dost Mohammad and Farzana have been included in the final list. The names of the remaining candidates are awaited.

Of the 104 members of the Senate, 52 will retire on March 11 after their six-year term expires, including four of the eight senators from the erstwhile tribal districts. Now that the tribal districts have merged into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, these four seats cannot be filled, which will reduce the total number of Senate seats to 100.

The Senate elections would be held on March 3. According to the election programme issued by the Election Commission, the candidates can submit their nomination papers on February 12 and 13, 2021 at the offices of the respective returning officers.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan People’s Party Friday approved 14 candidates for the Senate election proposing the names of former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani from Islamabad and Farhatullah Babar from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as joint candidates of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

According to an announcement made by the Bilawal House, the PPP suggested the names of Yusuf Raza Gilani and Secretary General PPP Parliamentarians Syed Nayyar Bukhari.

The party approved the names of Deputy Chairman Senate Salim Mandviwalla, Senator Sherry Rehman, Jam Mehtab Dehar, Taj Haider and Shahdat Awan from Sindh on the general seats. Former chairman Senate Farooq Naek, and Dr Karim Khawaja have been picked as technocrats and Ms Palwasha Khan, Ms Khairul-nisa Mughal and Ms Rukhsana Shah (covering) for women seat.

The PPP approved the name of Azeem ul Haq Minhas from Punjab, who is son-in-law of former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf. However, the PPP has not nominated anyone from Balochistan yet, as it has no member in the Balochistan Assembly.

Former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf will be proposer and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will second the name of Gilani. The PML-N Parliamentary Board has finalised the names of five ticket holders for the Senate elections, announced the party spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb on Friday.

Advocate Aazam Nazir Tarrar will represent the PML-N on the Technocrat Seat in Punjab. The party approved the names of Pervez Rashid, Mushahidullah Khan and Professor Sajid Mir, while on the women's seat Barrister Sadia Abbasi will represent the party.

Marriyum said the PML-N Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will name the final contestants after consultation. Meanwhile, talking to the media in Multan on Friday, PDM chief Fazlur Rehman said JUI-F had no differences with Yusuf Raza Gilani.

He said the proposed long march on the federal capital would not be held for one day but for a long period of time. Fazl said he was not participating in Saturday's PDM rally. He said the PDM was in contact with the rest of allies over the Senate election. He said Imran Khan spoke of open ballot, but the ballot was always secret.

“Both the bribe givers and bribe takers belong to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI),” he alleged. He said the PDM could not accept the statements of NAB chairman adding that they were the pawns of powers-that-be.

He said the PDM was not afraid of arrests adding, "A meeting has been scheduled with Asif Zardari. I will go to Zardari House to congratulate his daughter on her marriage". The PDM chief said people from all walks of life were fed up with the incumbent government.

“People at every level are going to Islamabad to protest and for acceptance of their demands. Violence against teachers in Islamabad is state terrorism,” he added. He said they were being told to go to the constitutional institutions, and they were not being listened to.

Fazl feared rigging in the Senate polls like in the National and provincial assemblies. He said lately no talks were held with Nawaz Sharif. Those who have not visited a madrasa don’t know the purpose of their establishment. Madrasas are in place; the rulers’ tactics will not succeed, he added.