ISLAMABAD - After getting a little respite from the Supreme Court of Pakistan in the contempt of court case against Prime Minister Gilani, the ruling Pakistan People’s Party and its coalition partners have started negotiations on seat adjustments for the upcoming elections on half of the Upper House seats of the Parliament.
Sources aware of behind-the-scene interaction between the party leaders, which is at peak right now, informed TheNation that the coalition partners were trying to make it a good bargain to get some extra benefit in the March 2 elections on some 54 Senate seats.
Sources in the Pakistan People’s Party said that Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid President Ch Shujaat Hussain was in negotiation with PPP Co-Chairman President Asif Ali Zardari and wanted him to dole out some four to six seats to his party whereas the PPP wanted PML-Q to settle for three or four seats both from Punjab and Balochistan. Sources further informed that JUI-F would also get support of PPP in getting one extra seat for extending an eleventh hour support to pro-democracy resolution in the National Assembly.
Sources in the government informed that they were trying to distribute the seats ahead of the elections on these seats in respective provincial assemblies and National Assembly, an electoral college for these elections with the aim to get the matter settled so that polling could not be held for these elections.
However, the insiders in the ruling coalition informed that the MPs from Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa did not support the idea of the coalition partners and said that polling should be held for these elections. If the history is any judge then it could safely be said that the elections in both Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa would be rigged and mostly the smaller groups and independents would be bribed by some independent or by the parties to get an extra seat.
A bird eye view of the Senators who would be retiring in March on completion of their six years term presents an interesting statistics with Leader of the Opposition in the Upper House Senator Abdul Ghafoor Haideri would lose his slot and the same would go to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz which would emerge as the biggest Parliamentary group in the opposition in Senate bringing its tally to 12 or 13 depending on how they would fair in Punjab Assembly.
The major losers in these elections would be Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid which would lose its 20 out of 21 senators who would be retiring and would hardly regain three to four seats and that too due to seat adjustments with the ruling Pakistan People’s Party.
The defunct Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal to which JUI-F was also part would be losing 11 out of their collective 13 seats with one of the component of MMA Jamaat-i-Islami would be losing representation in the Upper House as all their three senators would be retiring.
Some three Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) would be retiring leaving behind three in the house while they would manage to get another five or six senators reelected bring their number in the Upper House to eight or nine.
Awami National Party’s only one senator would be retiring while they would likely get another six or seven senators reelected bringing their tally to 11 or 12.
The lion’s share in the elections would go to Pakistan People’s Party which would increase its strength in the Upper House from existing 27 to 40 plus as only six of their senators would be retiring now while they would for sure get 20 plus senators reelected bringing their strength in the Upper House to all time high.