ECP Announces April 2 as Senate Election Date for 48 Seats

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has announced that the Senate election for 48 seats will be held on April 2, 2024. The official schedule of the election will be issued on March 14, according to a press release issued by the ECP on Monday.

The Senate election will be held to fill the vacant seats in the upper house of parliament, as 52 senators will retire after completing their six-year term on Tuesday.

However, four seats reserved for the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have been abolished after the 25th Constitutional amendment, which merged FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

The ECP said that the polling will be held to elect members against seven general seats, two seats for women, two seats for technocrats, including Ulema, and one seat for non-Muslims from Sindh and Punjab.

Similarly, lawmakers from KP and Balochistan will elect members against seven general seats, two seats for women, and two seats for technocrats, including Ulema, from each province.

The members of the National Assembly will elect one general seat and one seat for technocrats, including Ulema, from the federal capital, the ECP added.

The ECP has appointed returning officers (ROs) in Islamabad and the four provinces for the conduct of the Senate election. ECP Director General Training Saeed Gul will be the RO in the federal capital, while provincial election commissioners Aijaz Anwar Chohan, Sharifullah, Shamshad Khan, and Muhammad Farid Afridi will be ROs in Punjab, Sindh, KP, and Balochistan, respectively.

The ECP has also announced that the by-election on six vacant seats of the Senate will be held on Thursday (March 14). The polling will be held at the Senate hall in Islamabad as well as at the Sindh and Balochistan assemblies in Karachi and Quetta.

These seats in the general category fell vacant as senators relinquished their seats, following their election as members of the National Assembly or provincial assemblies of Sindh and Balochistan.

Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri have joined the lower house of parliament after winning the 2023 general elections. Similarly, Nisar Ahmed Khoro and Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar were elected to the Sindh Assembly, while Prince Ahmed Umer Ahmedzai and Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti became members of the Balochistan Assembly.

The Senate election is expected to be a close contest between the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the opposition parties, especially the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). The PTI currently has the largest representation in the Senate with 27 seats, followed by the PPP with 21 and the PML-N with 17. The Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) has 12 seats, while the rest are divided among smaller parties and independents.

The Senate election will also determine the fate of the incumbent Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, who belongs to the BAP and is supported by the PTI. The opposition parties have expressed their intention to replace him with their own candidate, but have not yet announced a consensus name. T

he Senate chairman is elected by the votes of the senators, and requires a simple majority of 53 votes to win. The Senate election will also have an impact on the upcoming presidential election, which is scheduled to be held in August 2024. The president is elected by an electoral college comprising the members of the Senate, the National Assembly, and the four provincial assemblies.

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