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Pakistan’s Senate By-Election: Key Candidates and Implications

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National Assembly lawmakers and MPAs from Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are set to elect six senators in a by-election today to fill vacant seats in the upper house of parliament. The seats up for grabs include one from Islamabad, three from Balochistan, and two from Sindh, which became vacant after the occupants were elected to national and provincial assemblies.

Among the notable candidates is PPP leader Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, contesting to regain his seat from Islamabad after winning as an MNA in the recent general elections. Gilani faces Chaudhry Ilyas Mehrban of the Sunni Ittehad Council in a closely watched one-on-one contest. The by-election is governed by Article 223 of the Constitution, which prohibits dual membership. As per this article, if a member holds two seats concurrently, the first seat becomes vacant upon election to the second seat.

The election holds significance as it is believed that Gilani is positioned to become the next Senate chairman under a power-sharing agreement between PPP and PML-N. While no official announcement has been made, reports suggest strong support for Gilani’s candidacy.

In addition to the Senate election, by-polls are scheduled for 23 national and provincial assembly seats on April 21. These include seats won by prominent figures like President Asif Ali Zardari, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur.

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