General

Polling underway for 52 Senate seats

The Senate elections are underway in the national and provincial assemblies as 133 candidates contest for 52 seats on Saturday.
The Senate — the Upper House of Parliament — is a body of 104 lawmakers. Each serves a term of six years, barring resignation, disqualification, or other extraordinary circumstances. They are not all elected at the same time: rather, half are elected at one time, and the other half three years later.
In 2018, 52 senators (who were elected in 2012) are slated to retire. The other 52 were elected in 2015 and will retire in 2021.
Of the 52 Senate seats being vacated for election today, 46 will be filled by the four provincial assemblies, 2 by the National Assembly, and 4 by lawmakers representing Fata.
Of all the candidates in the running, 20 candidates are looking to secure one of 12 seats from Punjab, 33 are contesting for 12 seats from Sindh, 26 for 11 seats from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 25 for 11 seats from Balochistan, 24 for four seats from Fata and five for two seats from the federal capital.
According to a senior official of the Election Commission of Pakistan, the Rangers and Frontier Corps personnel have been deployed outside all the polling stations established in parliament house and the four provincial assemblies, while returning officers have been given magisterial power during the polling process that will continue from 9am till 4pm without a break.
Media personnel, including that of state-owned PTV, have been barred from entering the provincial assemblies as well as the Parliament building as part of the security arrangements.
No person entering the assembly premises is allowed to carry their cellphones or any other electronic devices with them.
The main halls of all provincial assemblies have been declared polling stations for the respective provinces and while separate polling stations have been formed in the National Assembly for the election of senators from Fata and Islamabad.
Election process
The Senate election is held through secret voting on a basis of single transferable vote through “preference voting”. All four provincial assemblies are electoral college for the four respective assemblies.
Members of the National Assembly from Fata (11) will elect four Fata senators, while other members of the National Assembly will elect two senators from Islamabad. The National Assembly has 272 members elected on general seats out of total 342 seats. Of them, 11 members will be required to elect each of the four Fata senators. Half of the remaining 228 MNAs (114) will be required to elect Senators from Islamabad.