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Fata MNAs split over names of candidates for Senate polls

ISLAMABAD: Fata mem­bers of the National Assembly have reached a consensus on the name of a PML-N-backed candidate for the Senate elections, but they are still divided over the names of two other candidates.
The lawmakers from Fata accepted PML-N candidate Shamim Afridi’s name for the election to the upper house, but they are still split over the names of Sajid Turi, an independent MNA from Kurram Agency, and Mirza Afridi, another candidate.
“I want to be a senator now and do not want to be an MNA anymore and that is why I have filed my papers after consultations with members of the like-minded group,” Sajid Turi told Dawn after a meeting of Fata parliamentarians here on Friday.
Four senators from Fata are set to retire on March 11. They are Senator Hiday­atullah, Senator Hilalur Rehman, Senator Malik Najmul Hassan and Senator Muhammad Saleh Shah.
These four vacant slots are to be filled by votes of 11 MNAs from Fata, and Mr Sajid Turi, along with Senator Hidayatullah and Senator Hilalur Rehman, is among the hot favourites.
“There is nothing certain at this stage, but we enjoy the support of six members of the like-minded group,” said Senator Hidayatullah.
The like-minded group comprised Sajid Turi, Bismillah Khan, Bilal Rehman, Shah G. Gul Afridi, G.G. Jamal and Nasir Khan Afridi.
One Senator from Fata, Sajjad Turi, said that there was pressure from a senior member of parliament of the ruling party to elect Mirza Afridi in the upper house, but members of the like-minded group wanted Sajid Turi to be a senator.
“There is a strong tug of war between six MNAs of the like-minded group and the remaining five MNAs as some of them are favouring the ruling party’s candidate,” Senator Sajjad Turi added.

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