ISLAMABAD: Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has finalized all arrangements to hold Senate election in a smooth and transparent manner here in the parliament house and all four provincial assemblies on March 3 (Saturday).
The polling will start from 9:00am and will continue till 4:00pm without any break. The polling stations have been established in buildings of Parliament House Islamabad and all provincial Assemblies.
For two seats of federal capital, five candidates will contest election while 20 candidates will contest election for 12 seats of Punjab, 33 candidates will contest for 12 seats of Sindh, 26 candidates will contest for 11 seats of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 23 candidates will contest election for 11 seats of Balochistan and 24 candidates will contest election for four seats of FATA.
The ECP has printed 1600 ballot papers for Punjab, 800 for Sindh, 600 for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 300 for Balochistan, 800 for federal capital and 50 ballot papers for FATA. These ballot papers have been handed over to the Returning Officers concerned.
The commission held meeting with its Returning Officers to hold the Senate election in a peaceful, transparent and an organized manner in the federal capital and all four provinces.
The commission also directed the Returning Officers to ensure implementing all direction of ECP regarding Senate election including complete restriction on carrying mobile phone in polling station, using single way to enter in the polling station without any discrimination and ensuring conduct of election in a peaceful and pleasant atmosphere.
Meanwhile, in its notification, the ECP has authorized the Returning Officers appointed for the conduct of Senate elections, 2018 to exercise the power of the Magistrate of the First Class under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (Act V of 1898); with immediate effect and until the consolidation and announcement of official result.
The commission has also requested the Ministry of Interior for deployment of Rangers and Frontier Corps outside the premises of provincial assemblies of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Parliament House Islamabad for holding election in a peaceful manner and to avoid any untoward incident on the poll day.
It is pertinent to mention here that the provincial assemblies of Balochistan, Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkwa would elect 11 Senators each to fill the seats in the Upper House of the Parliament as half of the House would retire in March 2018.
Members National Assembly from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) would elect four Senators – half of the total strength of eight from FATA in the Senate – National Assembly members as a whole would elect two Senators for Federal Capital while two minority members from Punjab and Sindh would be elected by respective provincial assemblies.
As many as 52 Senators would retire on March 11, 2018 after completing their six-year term in the Upper House of the Parliament and the provinces, FATA MNAs and National Assembly would elect Senators to fill in the vacant posts.
In each province, seven Senators will be elected on general seats, two technocrats/Ulema and two women. Two minorities Senators from Punjab and Sindh will also retire after completing their tenure.
For general seats, total number of provincial assemblies divided by seven determines the numbers of votes for victory of Senators while the election of two women, Ulema, technocrats and one minority will be elected through priority vote.
Senate of Pakistan gives equal representation to all federating units which is in line with the constitutional role attributed to the Upper House for promotion of national cohesion and harmony.
In total 104 senators, each of the four provincial assemblies electing 23 members from their respective provinces whereas four members are elected by the National Assembly from the Federal Capital and eight members are elected from the Federal Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
Senate is a permanent House which symbolizes a process of continuity in the national affairs. The term of its member is six years, however, one half of its members retire after every three years.—APP