The general elections in Pakistan are scheduled to be held in summer of 2018 and all political party getting ready for this mega event. On the other hand, the schedule of the Senate election has been announced and various political parties are busy in nominating the potential candidates who could win seats for them. Though, there should not have been any confusion about the numbers of senators the political parties are going to have in the senate elections since all the senators are elected by the elected members of parliament. However, it is not the case as many members in different provinces, specifically in Balochistan change their loyalties. The senate elections are scheduled in next month.
According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), 34 candidates submitted nomination papers from Punjab, 21 nominations were submitted for general seats, five each for women and technocrat seats, and three for minorities.
From Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 31 candidates filed nomination papers: 20 for general seats, eight for women, and six for technocrat seats, and 28 nominations were received from Balochistan, whereas one candidate from Islamabad submitted nomination papers for a technocrat seat in the Senate.
So far, no candidate has submitted nomination papers from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
The election commission has asked all the political parties to submit their political manifesto, however, any political party has yet to submit its manifesto for the forthcoming elections. Senate elections always have juicy stories and mostly highlight the level of corruption.
Let’s see the party position in Balochistan, the province notorious about horse trading.
The PML-N has 21 out of its 65 seats, the PkMAP 14, NP 11, JUI-F 88, the PML-Q 5, the BNP 2 and the ANP and Majilis Wahdatul Muslimeen one member each. in recent political crisis, despite having a majority of members in the assembly, the PML-N was not able to save its CM.
It is not a secret what happens in in Senate elections. A year later, during the 2015 Senate elections, PML-Q parliamentarian Karim Nausherwani stated openly in front of the media that those who had money would win the seat and those who didn’t would lose. This sort of horse-trading is far more visible in Balochistan than in other provinces. All assembly members in Balochistan are vulnerable. The way things stand, any party, needs such individuals if it is going to succeed in forming a government. And if they are not kept happy, the government cannot hold onto power.
Former CM Nawab Raisani used to say that it was hard to control ministers because they acted like vultures and always wanted funds. Raisani, whose cabinet numbered over 50 ministers, tried to please everyone in an effort to complete his tenure.
This is not the first time that PML-N members have turned on the party. In the last Senate elections in March 2015 it was embarrassing when the party’s senior vice president Sardar Yaqoob Nasir was not able to win a seat despite having the support of 28 MPAs in the 65-member house. The PML-N was able to hold onto only three seats while its smaller coalition partners, the NP and PkMAP, also won three seats each even though they had only 11 and 14 MPAs. The upcoming Senate elections will also surprise everyone in Balochistan. Members have always voted for whoever they want, sometimes electing Senators with no party affiliation at all. No party head can stop horse-trading in Balochistan.
It is a serious issue in Balochistan that members least care what people care about and there are no forces to stop such a large scale of corruption. Balochistan is the most backward province in terms of poor infrastructure, inaccessibility of healthcare and denying education to a huge majority of the children, but the legislators in the province live a luxury life and are often not accountable to anyone. Many senior government officials and members of Balochistan assembly enjoy complete impunity. The issues are rarely highlighted in mainstream media and hardly any step was taken to prevent the specific mafia who is involved in this heinous crime. There is a general or widespread perception that specific people are made accountable in Balochistan while rest are allowed to plunder and loot the resources and people are left at the mercy of god. People in Balochistna complain that authority could take action whatever is visible—the corruption in Senate elections.