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Pakistan 'secret ballot' sees ruling party extend parliament dominance

Pakistan 'secret ballot' sees ruling party extend parliament dominance

Talking to media outside the accountability court, the former premier said that lawmakers faced difficulty while casting vote in Senate election since party candidates were contesting the election as independent without the PML-N electoral symbol. However, as many as 10 independent candidates managed to win the election, including six from southwest Balochistan Province and four from northwest Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

The PML-N secured 11 of 12 seats in the Punjab province, two from northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Province and two from capital Islamabad.

According to the reported results, the PML-N has become the leading party in the Senate with total 33 seats after adding up the fresh and previous seats in the upper house.

With allied parties and MPs, the PML-N will now dominate parliament.

Political analysts said that in keeping the party intact the major role was of Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif who both came in defiance against the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif on what they dubbed on flimsy grounds of holding Iqama (residence certificate) and not taking salary from his son.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is expected to announce offical results on Sunday. They are not all elected at the same time - half are elected in one election, and the other half three years later.

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Recalling that the provincial election commissioner had termed the Senate elections in Sindh most transparent and fair in the entire country, he said that the PPP had secured votes in the Senate polls on the basis of its performance and, therefore, instead of pointing fingers at others, the MQM-P should concentrate on resolving its internal issues. Rukhsana Zuberi, also a PPP candidate, was elected on a technocrat seat.

Aftab Bajwa, a senior advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, said the victory in the Senate would greatly support PML-N in the legislation in the coming months as it has already a two-thirds majority in the lower house.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari said the PML-N had the right to try to emerge as the largest single party in parliament and also to get its nominee elected as Senate chairman.

With the party now in control of the senate, the PML-N could change the constitution to allow Sharif to run in this summer's general elections. It is also vital as those grabbing the seat on basis of money can never serve the democracy and the masses as such people will only work for their own vested interests.

The elected candidates will take oath as Senators on March 12.


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