PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addressing a press conference in Quetta: Photo Daily Quetta Voice

Syed Ali Shah

QUETTA: The ruling coalition is expected to secure more seats in the upcoming elections for the upper house. A total of 62 lawmakers are set to elect 11 senators from Balochistan on April 3rd. Details indicate 7 general, 2 women, and 2 technocratic seats are vacant in Balochistan.

The ruling coalition, comprising the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League (N), is expected to clinch the majority of senate seats. These two parties hold 37 seats out of the current 62 provincial members in the Balochistan Assembly.

JUI F To Secure One Seat

Jamiat ul Ulema e Islam (JUI) is also poised to secure almost two senators from Balochistan with 12 seats in the assembly. The Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), with six seats in the provincial assembly, is likely to elect one senator.

The National Party, a Baloch nationalist party with four members in the house, is also vying to elect a senator from the assembly. Despite being part of the four-party alliance formed against alleged poll rigging in Balochistan, the party opted to vote for the PPP decision-maker Asif Ali Zardari in the recently held presidential elections.

Although the party leader Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch accused the PPP of stealing NP’s votes and mandate in the Mekran belt and Quetta, the charge was vehemently denied by the PPP.

NP Asks PPP To Support It On A Technocrate Seat

Sources within the PPP revealed that the NP demanded the PPP’s support for its candidate for the technocrat seat in the upcoming senate elections. Although the party claimed to have discussed an eight-point agenda, including the issue of missing persons, with President Asif Ali Zardari for supporting the former in the presidential elections in the country.

According to the statistics and rules of the Election Commission of Pakistan, eight members are required to elect a senator for a general seat from the Balochistan Assembly. Similarly, 21 votes are required to elect a woman senator and a technocrat from the Balochistan Assembly.

Differences Likely To Emerge Between PPP And PML N After Portfolios Distribution

The parties, including the PPP and PML-N, are allies in the coalition government. However, differences are likely to emerge after the distribution of portfolios among the lawmakers by the leaders of the two parties, as all want category ministries and none is ready to accept a B-category ministry. This may impact the results of the upper house.

The Awami National Party (ANP) is also expected to field its candidates in the Balochistan Assembly. The party has 3 lawmakers in the house. Maintaining unity among the lawmakers from the ruling coalition is indeed a challenge for Chief Minister Mir Sarfaraz Bugti in Balochistan.

It would be very difficult for the latter to please every lawmaker as the number of ministries is limited and the number of advisers also.

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About the Author

Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.