20 PPP aspirants submit nominations for Senate polls

A total of 23 candidates filed their nomination papers on Wednesday in the Election Commission of Pakistan for contesting March 3 Senate elections from Sindh.
Of the 23 candidates, 20 belonged to the Pakistan Peoples Party, two from the Pak Sarzameen Party and one from the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional.
The 20 PPP candidates are Kirshna Kolhi, Quratul Ain Marri, Nida Khuhro, Humaira Alwani, Anwar Lal Deen, Anthony Naveed, Dr Sikandar Mandhro, Rukhsana Zubairi, Dr Younis Soomro, Taj Haider, Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani, Maula Bux Chandio, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, Mohammad Ali Shah Jamote, Imamuddin Shoukeen, Ayaz Maher, Barrister Murtaza Wahab, Dost Ali Jessar, Javed Nayab Leghari and Qasim Soomro.
Syed Mubashar Imam and Mohan Manjiani filed their nominations on behalf of the PSP. PML-F’s Syed Muzzafar Hussain Shah was also among those who filed their candidatures.
No MQM candidate files papers amid infighting
No candidate belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan turned up before the ECP to file his/her nomination paper. The party is undergoing a serious internal crisis that continued on Wednesday over distribution of Senate tickets.
Thursday is the last day for filing nomination forms.
A total of 162 nomination forms had been collected from the ECP against 12 Senate seats — seven general, two each reserved for technocrats/ulema and women and one for minorities.
Twelve senators from Sindh due to retire on March 11 are PPP’s Raza Rabbani, Dr Karim Khwaja, Mukhtiar (Aajiz) Ahmad Dhamra, Murtaza Wahab, Taj Haider, Dr Hari Ram and Sahar Kamran; Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, Maulana Tanveerul Haq, Dr Farogh Naseem and Nasreen Jalil of the MQM and Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah of the PML-F.
Sources close to Bilawal House said that the PPP was set to field 11 candidates — Mr Rabbani, Mr Chandio, Ms Kohli, Lal Deen, Ms Marri, Dr Mandhro, Mr Shauqeen, Mr Khokhar, Dr Soomro, Mr Haider and Mr Mahar — for as many Senate seats.
However, the real picture of all ticket holders would emerge on Feb 16 — the last date for withdrawal from the contest.
In the 168-member Sindh Assembly, winning a Senate general seat requires 21 MPAs; 57 votes needed for winning a technocrat and women reserved seat each and 84 votes are required for lone minority Senate seat.
Sindh Assembly Secretary G.M. Umar Farooq that at present the total strength of the house was 166 since two PPP lawmakers — Sardar Ahmad Ali Pitafi and Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani — died recently.
The current party-wise position is: PPP (94 MPAs); MQM (50); PML-F (nine); PML-N (7); Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (four), National Peoples Party (one) and one independent.
He said that although nine MQM lawmakers and one PTI MPA announced in the media their switching loyalties, none of them had resigned and, therefore, they were being counted as MQM and PTI lawmakers in the assembly.
These lawmakers are Shaikh Abdullah, Bilquees Mukhtar, Muhammad Dilawar, Sheeraz Waheed, Irtiza Farooqui, Nadeem Razi, Muhammad Abdul Razzaq, Arif Bhatti, Iram Azeem Farooque and Hafeezudin.
Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah along with Sindh PPP president Nisar Khuhro accompanied the PPP aspirants, including their proposers and seconders to the ECP.
He told reporters that the PPP maintained its old tradition of awarding tickets to party workers.
He said that the PPP had selected party candidates for the Senate election on merit with preference to workers.
“This is a wrong impression that MPAs are being given offers for purchasing their vote,” he said referring to a statement of PTI lawmaker Khurram Sher Zaman. “He should tell the media who has given him offer.”
Replying to a question, the CM said that the MQM-P was facing an internal crisis. “The question is how they would serve their people when they are fighting with each other.”