Senate elections and horse trading

March 5, 2018

As the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz won the expected 15 seats in Senate elections on Saturday after having suffered a major setback in Balochistan, the Pakistan Peoples Party pulled off a surprise win on 12 seats which with the likely support of independent candidates may further allow it to consolidate its position in the upper house.
The PML-N backed candidates won 11 out of total 12 seats from Punjab where the ruling party despite enjoying majority lost one seat to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf organiser Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar amid allegations of horse-trading. The Muttahida Quami Movement was the biggest loser as it could bag only one seat despite having 37 seats in the Sindh Assembly.
According to unofficial results, 15 candidates backed by the PML-N, 12 PPP, 10 independent, six PTI, two candidates of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and National Party each, one candidate from each of the MQM, Jamaat-i-Islami and PML-F returned successful on the 52 of the 104 Senate seats.
Despite one setback as In Punjab, the ruling party candidate Zubair Gul lost on a seat that was gained by PTI despite having less representation in the provincial assembly, PMLN is still an election force. Party still holds the popularity in the country, particularly in Punjab despite the removal of Nawaz Sharif from the post of party president.
Some experts are claiming that PPP is the real winner in the Senate elections as early indicators say that it secured a respectable 12 seats (from Sindh and KP). That PTI only made off with some six seats in (from KP and the Punjab) has prompted Imran Khan to cry foul over alleged PPP horse-trading. According to reports, at least 17 PTI lawmakers in KPK allegedly sold their votes during the Senate election, enabling two PPP candidates to be elected from the province where the PPP only has seven MPAs. As Imran Khan questioned the victory of two PPP candidates in KP, the PPP put the same question to the PTI with respect to the victory of its lone candidate in Punjab, Chaudhry Sarwar.
It is unfortunate that every Senate election is marred by claims of horse trading and allegations of buying the seats, but nothing substantial has been done to stop this undemocratic practice by champions of democracy.
Every Senate election is marred with claims of horse trading, but unfortunately nothing substantial was done to stop this practice.

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