A Simple Guide to Senate Elections in Pakistan

The Senate elections are scheduled to be held in March this year. As it is an important political event, it needs to be understood by every responsible citizen of Pakistan. Below is a simple guide to Senate elections in Pakistan.

Pakistan is a Bicameral Parliamentary System. That is to say its legislature consists of two Houses: the Upper House is called the Senate and the Lower House is called the National Assembly. Unlike the National Assembly, the Senate is equally represented by all the provinces of federation. It consists of 104 members with six-year term. The senate elections are held every three years and 52 members out of 104 (50%) are up for elections. A vacancy in the Senate, caused by resignation, death, disqualification or removal of a member is filled through elections by respective electoral college and the member so elected hold office for the un-expired term of the member whose vacancy he has filled.

Senate elections take place in accordance with Article 59 of the constitution. Each province elects twenty-three members that include fourteen on general seats, four on seats reserved for technocrats, four on seats reserved for women and one on seat reserved for non-Muslims (14+4+4+1=23). Two general members, one technocrat and one woman are elected from the Federal Capital (2+1+1=4), whereas eight members are elected from former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). In total (92+4+8=) 104 seats.

The next Senate election are to be held on 11 March for 52 retiring senators. However, with the merger of FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa, the total strength of Senate is 96 members. Of these each province elects twenty-three senators and four are elected from the Federal Capital.