Pakistan Lawmakers Begin Secret Vote For Senate Elections

Talking to media persons outside the Punjab assembly in Lahore, the Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah expressed with confidence that all the nominated candidates of PML-N would be victorious, adding the PML-N would win all the 12 Senate seats from Punjab.

Nisar said he coincidentally met Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi yesterday.

Winning control of the Senate could enable the PML-N to change the constitution to make party leader Sharif eligible to hold office again.

Former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan played down on Saturday his absence at recent Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) meeting, saying attending or not attending the party meetings did not qualify to be news.

Another independent candidate Asad Junejo, having backing of PML-N, won the second seat for Islamabad after receiving 214 votes against 32 votes to Imran Ashraf and Kanwal Shozab respectively, according to the reports.

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A total of 135 candidates, which includes 25 women, are contesting the 52 senate seats.

Punjab as the most populous state has 52 votes per senate seat from its provincial assembly while Baluchistan, the least populated, only has 9 votes. The elected senators would serve a six year term.

Pakistani political analysts say that by working with allied politicians in the Senate, PML-N should have de facto control of the 104-seat chamber. Rangers and Frontier Corps personnel have been deployed outside all the polling stations established in parliament house and the four provincial assemblies.

The final results will not immediately show how well PML-N has done because a number of candidates were barred from running under the party's banner following Sharif's disqualification by the Supreme Court last month.

  • Sonia Alvarado