ISLAMABAD — Pakistan held elections for its Senate to elect 52 members of the house for the next six years on Saturday amid strict measures to ensure transparency, the Election Commission said.
According to a statement from the Election Commission of Pakistan, at least 135 candidates, including 110 men and 25 women, are competing for the 52 Senate seats from all the four provinces of the country, northwest Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the capital of Islamabad, Xinhua news agency reported.
As many as 20 candidates are contesting against 12 seats from eastern Punjab province, 33 against 12 seats from southern Sindh province, 27 against 11 seats from northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, 25 against 11 seats from southwest Balochistan province, 24 against four seats from FATA and six against two seats from Islamabad.
Some local media reports said that 131 candidates are competing now after four candidates have withdrawn from the elections in favor of some other runners.
The elections are being conducted to replace 52 out of the total 104 senators of the upper house of the parliament after completing their six-year term.
As the senators are not directly voted by the general public, the contestants from provinces will be elected by members of provincial assemblies while the aspirants from Islamabad and FATA will get votes from the members of the National Assembly, the lower house of the parliament.Follow @gorkhapost
China conduct live fire drill along southeast coastline
BEIJING — China’s military has conducted live-fire drills along the southeast coastline, state television reported, but it was unclear if these were the same exercises that had been flagged as taking place in the sensitive Taiwan Strait.
The government had said the drills would happen on Wednesday off the city of Quanzhou, in between two groups of islands close to China’s coast but that Taiwan has controlled since 1949 when defeated Nationalist forces fled to the island at the end of the Chinese civil war.
Chinese state media has said the drills were a direct response to “provocations” by Taiwan leaders related to what China fears are moves to push for the self-ruled island’s formal independence. China claims Taiwan as its sacred territory.
Late on Wednesday, Chinese state television showed footage of helicopters firing missiles during an exercise it said was happening on China’s southeast coast.
State television only showed pictures of helicopters, with no mention of ships or other military equipment such as tanks or amphibious assault vehicles.
The exercises took place from 8 a.m. (0000GMT) until midnight, the report said, giving the same time frame for the previously announced drills in the Taiwan Strait.
The Defence Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the exercise, and whether it was the same ones previously reported to be happening in the Taiwan Strait.
Taiwan on Wednesday denounced the exercises, saying Beijing was using “cheap verbal intimidation and saber rattling” to threaten the island.
Taiwan is one of China’s most sensitive issues and a potential military flashpoint. China has ramped up military exercises around Taiwan in the past year, including flying bombers around the island.
Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said on Wednesday afternoon two Chinese H-6K bombers had flown around the island, passing first through the Miyako Strait to Taiwan’s northeast and then back to base via the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines.
The latest Chinese military movements come during a time of heightened tension between Beijing and the island and follows strong warnings by Chinese President Xi Jinping against Taiwan separatism last month.
China claims Taiwan as its own and considers it a breakaway province.Follow @gorkhapost