Senate elections 2018

  • A major reshuffle with important implications

Senate elections 2018 will be drawing more attention than any other held so far. The biggest loser would be the PML-N and PPP and the biggest gainer the PTI. What needs to be watched is the extent of their gains and losses.

The unexpected parliamentary coup in Balochistan has upset PML-N’s plans for the future. The party had hoped that with both the NA and Senate under its control, it would be able to pass laws overriding some of the Supreme Court decisions that have caused the party a grave set back. Further, the PML-N would also be able to fall back on parliament’s support during the tenure of the three consecutive Chief Justices least liked by it who would hold office for most of the time till 2023 elections. The PML-F which, was on the brink of extinction in the Senate with all its four Senators retiring on March 11, is looking up for a new lease of life due to the change of government in Balochistan.

Besides losing 70 percent of its Senators who would retire, the PPP would also be deprived of some of its enlightened and articulate Senators that include Aitzaz Ahsan, Raza Rabbani, Farhatulah Babar and Taj Haider. When the reports of dissension in PML-N’s parliamentary committee in Balochistan became public party leaders in Punjab accused Zardari of pulling the strings but this was denied by the PPP. The meeting between Balochistan cabinet members led by CM Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and PPP leaders led by Zardari in Karachi suggests the rumours were not altogether false. It remains to be seen if the PPP, which has no legislator in Balochistan Assembly, can manage to get PPP Senators elected from the province.

The PTI which entered the Senate first time in 2015 would now double its seats to 14. Ishaq Dar would be the most prominent among the nine retiring PML-N Sentors. Mushahid Hussain Syed of the PML-F would be another prominent Senator to retire. There is a likelihood of the PML-N getting him re-elected on its ticket.