LAHORE: The candidates backed by the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) on Saturday grabbed 11 seats of the Senate from Punjab in the much-anticipated polls for the upper house of the parliament held in all four provincial assemblies and the National Assembly.
As per the details, polling for 12 seats from Punjab was held in the Punjab Assembly in which the PML-N recorded an emphatic victory by clinching 11 seats while one seat was grabbed by Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
According to the breakdown of the total number of seats, there were 7 general seats in which the ruling PML-N secured six seats while the PTI managed to get only one seat. As per the initial results, Chaudhry Sarwar of PTI got record 45 first priority votes while Dr Asif Kirmani, Rana Mahmoodul Hasan, Shaheen Khalid Butt, Dr Musadiq Malik, Rana Maqbool and Haroon Akhtar Khan backed by the PML-N managed to get 42, 44, 42, 43, 43 and 42 first priority votes respectively and became Senators from Punjab. Zubair Gull of the PML-N, Shahzad Ali Khan of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Kamil Ali Agha of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid lost the elections while getting only 39, 26 and 7 votes respectively.
There were two reserved seats for women and both were clinched by the PML-N backed candidates. Sadia Abbasi grabbed 160 votes while Nuzhat Sadiq secured 152 votes and defeated Andleeb Abbas of PTI who managed to get only 46 votes.
One seat reserved for Non-Muslims was also won by the PML-N backed Kamran Michael who got 321 votes and defeated Victor Azariah of PTI who managed to get only 36 votes. There were two technocrat seats and both were won by PML-N as Ishaq Dar and Hafiz Abdul Karim got 155 and 160 votes respectively. Nawazish Ali Pirzada of PPP got only 12 votes while Malik Asif Javaid of PTI could manage to get only 34 votes for the technocrat seat.
PROFILES OF THE NEWLY-ELECTED SENATORS:
Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar who won on the PTI ticket is a former Punjab governor and an ex-British politician having close ties with almost all political parties. Dr Asif Saeed Kirmani of the PML-N is currently working as the special assistant to the prime minister on political affairs with the status of minister of state and is said to be one of the most trustworthy aides of the ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Dr Musadik Malik is currently working as the special assistant to the prime minister on media affairs with the status of minister of state and he is also associated with the media wing of Maryam Nawaz Sharif.
Haroon Akhtar Khan is currently functioning as the special assistant to the prime minister on revenue with the status of federal minister and it is pertinent to mention that his brother Humayun Akhtar Khan has served as a federal minister during the government of former military dictator Parvez Musharraf. Shaheen Khalid Butt is a Pakistani-American businessman who has a vast business in New York and has also served as the overseas Pakistanis commission Punjab vice chairman. Rana Maqbool is a former Sindh police IG and also served as the advisor to Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Rana Mahmoodul Hasan hails from a family of veteran politicians of Multan and was the only parliamentarian of the PML-N from south Punjab during the dictatorial regime of Parvez Musharaf and is also a sitting MPA from Multan.
Kamran Michael is the incumbent federal minister for statistics and has also served as the minister for human rights and minorities from Punjab in the past. Hafiz Abdul Karim is a sitting MNA from DG Khan and is also working as the federal minister for communications. Senator Ishaq Dar has served as the federal minister for finance and is very close to the Sharif family as his son Ali Dar is the son-in-law of Nawaz Sharif.
Nuzhat Sadiq, who got elected on the seat reserved for women, has also served as an MNA and Senator in the past on the PML-N’s ticket. Sadia Abbasi, who hails from Murree, is the sister of incumbent Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and has also served as a Senator in the past.
The polling on Saturday was held amid tight security as Punjab chief minister also came to cast his vote while the first vote was cast by Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan. The house of the Punjab Assembly was declared as a polling station and no one was allowed to carry his or her mobile phone in the polling station that was under the control of officials from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Speaking outside the Punjab Assembly after their victory, the Senators pledged their support to Nawaz Sharif and said that they were not allowed to contest on the party symbol but they became Senators just because of the confidence of the MPAs upon the party leadership and they would soon announce to join the PML-N again after taking oath as Senators.
“The undemocratic forces have been defeated today as they were hatching conspiracies to halt the Senate elections and the MPAs from Punjab have manifested that they still love Nawaz Sharif,” Rana Sanaullah said while speaking to media representatives outside the Punjab Assembly.
He further said that the PML-N grabbed Senate seats from Punjab according to the expectations keeping in view its strength of 310 in the house. The building of the assembly was resonated with slogans as both the MPAs of PTI and PML-N started chanting slogans right after the announcement of results.