All you need to know about Senate polls 2021
Polling for 37 Senate seats – excluding Punjab where senators got elected unopposed will take place on March 3 (Wednesday) as an election campaign for the upcoming Upper House ended on March 1.
Various MPAs and MNAs from provincial assemblies and National Assembly will cast their votes to elect members of the upper house.
A total of 37 senators – 12 each from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, 11 from Sindh, and two from Islamabad – will be elected on March 3. Voting would be held in the provincial assemblies. The two senators from Islamabad would be elected by the National Assembly.
However, there will be no polling in Punjab as all the candidates for three categories — seven general and two seats each reserved for women and technocrats — were elected unopposed last week.
There are a total of 72 candidates contesting the 2021 Senate polls from the federal capital and the three provinces.
The electoral process is such that all members of the National Assembly will be given two ballot papers— one for the general seat and other for the women’s seat. In Sindh, members of the Provincial Assembly will be granted three ballot papers, for the election of general, women and technocrat seats.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan however, members of Provincial Assembly members will be given four ballot papers, where the additional ballot will correspond to a minority seat.
What is the single transferable vote?
The STV was first used in Pakistan in 1973.
Under this system, every voter has only one vote, in which he prioritises his choices in a sequence against the names of the candidates.
Simply put, the voters rank each candidate they want their vote to go to by writing 1,2 and 3 against the names of each candidate on the ballot paper.
A quota calculated by the Election Commission of Pakistan then determines how many votes each candidate needs to be elected.
Senators to retire
Top members from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) will be among the 52 Senators set to retire on March 3 2021 after completion of their six-year tenure.
According to details, Rehman Malik, Raza Rabbani, Farooq H Naek, Sherry Rehman, Saleem Mandviwalla will be among seven top PPP lawmakers set to retire after completing their tenure.
Usman Kakar from Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP), Abdul Ghafoor Haideri from JUI-F, independent candidates Sajjad Turi, Momin Afridi, Taj Afridi, and Aurangzeb Orakzai will be among the retiring Senators.
From PML-N, their top Senators including Pervaiz Rashid, Raja Zafarul Haq, Mushahid Ullah Khan, Javed Abbasi, Kulsoom Parveen, Prof Sajid Mir and Saleem Zia will also superannuate.
Six members of the PTI including Mohsin Aziz, Information Minister Shibli Faraz, Noman Wazir, Prof Dr. Mehr Taj Roghani, and Zeeshan Khanzada will also complete their six-year-tenure of Senate in March 2021.
Sitara Ayaz of ANP, Muhammad Tahir Bizinjo, Mir Kabeer Ahmed Muhammad Shahi and Dr. Ashok Kumar of National Party, and Sarfaraz Bugti of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) are also among some of the prominent lawmakers set to retire.
The election will be held to fill one general seat and one seat for women from the federal capital, seven general seats, two seats for women, two seats for Technocrats including Ulema from each province like Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan and one seat for non-Muslims each from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan province.
Currently, the National Assembly has 342 seats for lawmakers from across the country. The ruling PTI holds 157 seats, PML-N 83, PPP 55, 15 MMA, MQM-P 7, BAP 5, PML-Q 4, BNP 4, GDA 3, AML 1, ANP 1, JWP 1, and four are independent members.
There will be a one-to-one contest between Finance Minister Hafeez Sheikh and former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani for a general seat and PTI’s Fauzia Arshad and PML-N’s Farzana Kausar for a women’s seat.
The Senators elected unopposed in Punjab included five from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), five from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and one from the PML-Quaid-e-Azam.
Those elected unopposed in Punjab are Kamil Agha, Saifullah Nyazee, Afnanullah Khan, Aon Abbas, Ejaz Chaudhry, Sajid Mir and Irfanul Haq Siddiqui on general seats; Azam Tarar and Syed Ali Zafar on the technocrat seats and Zarqa Suharwardy and Saadia Abbasi on the women seats.
17 contenders from the province will be contesting for 12 of its share of seats in the upper house of the parliament polls. There are to be seven general seats besides two each under the categories of women and technocrats respectively.
As per the final list issued by the Sindh Election Commission, ten contestants for the seven general category seats include Taj Haider, Jam Mahtab Hussain Dahar, Dost Ali Jessar, Saleem Mandviwala, Shahadat Awan, Sheher Bano Rehman and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) lawmaker Sadiq Ali Memon, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf’s (PTI) Muhammad Faisal Vawda, Grand Democratic Alliance’s (GDA) Pir Sadruddin Shah and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) Syed Faisal Sabzwari.
PTI’s Saifullah Abro, Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarian’s (PPPP) Farooq Hamid Naek and Karim A Khawaja will contest for two of the seats under the technocrats category.
There are a total of 168 members in the Sindh Assembly. Elections will be held on seven vacant general seats of the senate from Sindh.
Each party would need 22 votes at least to get a Senator elected from the general seat while for women and technocrats seat, they would need the support of 56 lawmakers.
The PPP has the support of its 99 lawmakers and would easily grab six 0r seven Senate seats, however, the ruling party could get hold of two more seats if the opposition fails to put up a joint front.
The opposition parties that are part of the federal government coalition have the support of 65 lawmakers including 30 lawmakers of PTI, 21 of MQM-P and 14 MPAs of GDA.
If MQM-P, PTI and GDA present a joint front in the Senate polls from the province, then they could be able to get at least four and at most five seats. In this scenario, MQM-P could get a general seat, besides also securing a technocrat or woman seat.
The PTI could also get two seats and GDA could secure one Senate seat in case of a united front from the federal coalition parties.
The 145-member KP Assembly would elect 11 senators – seven on general seats, two each on technocrats and women seats and one on a minority seat.
Twenty-five candidates are in the field for twelve seats of Senate from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Currently, the ruling PTI has 94 MPAs, JUI-F 15, ANP 12, PML-N seven, PPP five, BAP four, Jamaat-i-Islami three, PML-Q one, while the assembly has four independent members.
The government alliance has the support of 99 members, while the opposition has 43 MPAs in the KP Assembly. 21 votes will be required from the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly for general seats.
With that, it means that the ruling PTI can grab seven or eight seats and Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) is expected to gain four or five seats.
After the withdrawal of nomination papers by various candidates, now 26 candidates remain in the field from Balochistan. They include candidates of the Balochistan National Party-Mengal, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Awami National Party, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, BNP-Awami and Pakistan National Party.
Ruling BAP has a total of 24 seats in the provincial assembly, JUI-F 11, Balochistan National Party 10, Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf 7, Awami National Party 4, Balochistan National Party (Awami) 3, Hazara Democratic Party 2, Jamhuri Wattan Party 1, Pakistan Muslim League (N) 1, Independent.
The 165-member Balochistan Assembly would elect 11 senators – seven on general seats, two each on technocrats and women seats and one on a minority seat.
The maths to determine the exact quota of the vote each candidate should receive is worked out by dividing the total value of votes.
Take Sindh. There are a total of 168 members in the Sindh Assembly. Elections will be held on seven vacant general seats of the senate from Sindh. There are two seats for women and two for technocrats. Dividing these seats into 168 seats can therefore determine the golden figure for each seat, in other words, the required number of votes.
For instance: For general senate seats, around 22 votes will have to be obtained from the Sindh Assembly. If the two women’s seats in Sindh are divided into a total of 168 members, then the required number of votes; the golden figure; comes down to 84.
Under the same formula, some 21 votes will be required from the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly for general seats, while technocrats’ and women’s seats will require around 73 votes and more than 70 on the minority seat.
Likewise, a candidate from the Balochistan Assembly will have to secure nine votes to win, while for the seats of women and technocrats, he/she will have to get the required 33 votes.
Using the same formula, 172 votes in National Assembly will be required for a Senator to be elected from Islamabad.