ARY Special

How Pakistan elects its Senate members?

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s four provincial assemblies and the National Assembly will elect the members of the Senate on March 05, as per the schedule announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan.

The tenure of a Senator comprises of six years but Senate elections held with the duration of three years when one half of the members of the upper house retire after completion of their tenure.

According to the procedure defined by the Election Commission of Pakistan, a total of 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 votes of members to get elected on general seat.

The total number of members in Punjab assembly has been 371, meaning 53 provincial members have to elect one Senator on general seat.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, for the total number of 7 general Senate seats, 17 votes will be required in order to win each general seat. For the 7 general Senate seats available in Balochistan assembly, nine votes will be needed from the members to get elected.

For electoral success on the two seats reserved for women and technocrats each, half number of the member of the each provincial assembly is needed to get elected. For the one seat available for minorities from each province, a simple majority has to be obtained.

In the same way, for the Federal tribal areas the electoral college will comprise of a total number of 11 National Assembly members elected from the region. The MNAs of the region elect total eight Senators.

The number of the Senate, the upper house of the parliament of Pakistan was originally 45, which was increased to 63 in 1977 and to 87 in 1985. The government of Gen. Pervez Musharraf raised the number of Senators to 100, which were further increased to 104 in the government of Pakistan People’s Party through the 19th constitutional amendment in 2011 with inclusion of four minority members from four provinces.

The purpose for the creation of the upper house was to give equal representation to all the federating units since the membership of the National Assembly was based on the population of each province. Equal provincial membership in the Senate, thus, balances the provincial inequality in the National Assembly.

Under Article 59 of the Constitution, Pakistan’s each province sends 23 members to the Senate including 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.

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