144 candidates cleared to contest Pakistan Senate elections

Of the 52 Senate seats, all four provinces have 11 seats each, two seats belong to Islamabad and four to Fata, while two are reserved for minorities.

By Our Correspondent

Published: Sun 22 Feb 2015, 11:40 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 8:45 PM

PPP Candidate Rehman Malik returns after scruitny of his nomination papers for Senate elections. - Online 

Islamabad - Following scrutiny of nomination papers, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has cleared 144 candidates to contest the elections for 52 Senate seats scheduled to be held on March 5.

All four provinces have 11 seats each, two seats belong to Islamabad and four to Fata, while two are reserved for minorities.

During the two-day scrutiny process, returning officers (ROs) rejected nominations of 40 candidates on different grounds, including tax evasion and loan default. The highest number of rejections came from Fata where 23 out of 43 aspiring candidates for four seats were barred from contesting the election, mostly for not filing income tax returns.

Five out of 19 nominations from Punjab were rejected including those of a PML-N candidate.

This time around, the ROs were given feedback from nearly 11 departments about the credentials of every candidate. Earlier, the ROs mainly focused on moral turpitude of candidates.

For two seats from capital Islamabad nine candidates are in the field. They include, PML-N nominees Iqbal Zafar Jhagra and Rahila Magsi. The returning officer rejected the objection that they are not residents of Islamabad.

In Punjab, 17 candidates will contest 11 seats. The PML-N which has overwhelming majority in the provincial assembly, expects 10 seats.

It has awarded tickets to three candidates from outside to compete in Punjab and one each from Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been named for two Islamabad seats.

In Sindh, nomination papers of 18 candidates for seven general seats have been accepted. They include ticket holders of the PPP, MQM, PML-F and PML-N.

For two women’s seats from the province six candidates will be in the run and four for two technocrat seats. Given the strength of the PPP and MQM in the provincial legislature, the two parties are confident to grab most of the 11 seats from the province.

An interesting contest is expected in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where PTI is in power.

Sixteen candidates have qualified to contest for the seven general seats. Besides candidates from PTI, PPP, PML-N, JUI-F, ANP and Aftab Sherpao’s QWP, three independent candidates will also be contesting for general seats.

Nine candidates have qualified to contest for two technocrat seats from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Seven are in the fray for two women and three for one minority seat.

Like Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, situation in Balochistan is also not clear. For seven general seats, 17 candidates have qualified including five independents.

For two technocrat seats from Balochistan nine, for two women seats six and for one minority seat six candidates have qualified to contest.

In the next step, the decisions of ROs for rejecting or accepting nomination papers could be challenged on February 23 and 24. These appeals will be heard on February 26 and 27.

Subsequently, February 28 is the day by which candidates can withdraw their candidature including those who have qualified as covering candidates before a final list is displayed. Polling for Senate election will be held on March 5. -news@khaleejtimes.com

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