ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the ruling party at the Centre, is set to secure its majority in the upper house of the Parliament after March 3 polls, with the election of at least 15 of its new lawmakers.

Keeping in view the present strength of the ruling party in the national and the provincial assemblies, PML-N could secure at least 18 seats in the upcoming Senate elections, thus taking its total strength to 36 in the upper house.

It is, however, being that PML-N would lose its three expected seats from the Balochistan Assembly after a number of its MPAs recently switched loyalty.

At present, the PML-N is the majority party in the Senate with 27 seats and nine of its lawmakers are set to retire on March 11 after completing their six-year term.

However, at least 15 new lawmakers of the PML-N would make their way in the house, raising the total number of its senators to 33.

The election for 52 of the total 104 seats of the upper house of the Parliament is scheduled to be held on March 3 through secret balloting.

In Balochistan Assembly, the PML-N had 21 MPAs and nine members in the provincial assembly are required to elect a senator on one general seat. PML-N could win two general seats and one technocrat or woman seat, but at least 18 provincial assembly lawmakers of the party parted ways with it and joined the opposition parties, removing Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri from the office.

Political observers view that the PML-N could lose its three expected seats from the province.

It is likely that the PML-N will clean sweep the Senate election in the Punjab Assembly and win all 12 seats, where the party has a total of 309 members.

The Punjab Assembly has a total of 371 lawmakers. PTI has 30, PPP and PML-Q have eight each, independent MPAs are five and PML-Zia three while Pakistan National Muslim League, Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and Bahawalpur National Awami Party have one seat each.

On March 3, a total of 12 senators would be elected from Sindh and Punjab each, while 11 senators each would reach the Senate from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan.

The election on seven general seats, two women seats, two technocrat seats and one non-Muslim seat would be held in the Punjab Assembly.

Women, technocrat and non-Muslim seats would be secured by those who would get majority votes out of the total cast votes.

Under the formula for the Senate election, 52 votes of the MPAs would be required to elect each senator on general seat from the Punjab Assembly.

The PML-N will clean sweep all seven general seats in addition to five technocrat, women and non-Muslim seats. However, only one seat can go to the opposition if PTI, PPP, and PML-Q reach a mutual understanding and manage to win loyalties of dissidents of some PML-N lawmakers.

Similarly, PML-N will easily win two seats from the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) whose senators are elected by the National Assembly members.

It is likely that PML-Q Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed who is retiring on March 11 will get the PML-N ticket from Islamabad.

PML-N will manage to win one seat from the KP Assembly where the party has 16 seats. JUI-F, an ally of PML-N at the Centre, has also the same number of seats while Quami Watan Party has 10, PPP six and Awami National Party has five seats. All of these parties form the opposition in the provincial assembly. 17 MPAs are required to elect one senator in KP.

In the Sindh Assembly, PML-N will not get a single seat as the party has only seven lawmakers and 24 votes are required to elect a senator out of the 168 seats of the provincial assembly.

Out of nine retiring senators of PML-N, Ishaq Dar, Saud Majeed, Sardar Zulfiqar Khosa, Hamza, Dr Asif Saeed Kirmani, Zafarullah Khan Dhandla, Nuzhat Sadiq and Kamran Michael are from Punjab, while Nisar Muhammad Khan hails from KP.

There are no chances for outgoing PML-N senators, Sardar Zulfiqar Khosa, Hamza, and Nisar Muhammad Khan to get the party tickets for the next term as all have become dissidents. The party is not likely to issue the Senate ticket to Ishaq Dar who is living in self-exile.

The party sources say chances for Zafarullah Dandhala and Mohsin Legahri to get Senate tickets are not bright. Both of them were independent senators, but, later, they joined PML-N.

A source within PML-N opined Dr Asif Kirmani, Nuzhat Sadiq, Irfan Siddqui, Chaudhry Jaffer Iqbal, Begum Ishrat Ashraf, Shahnawaz Ranjha and former special assistant to PM on foreign affairs, Tariq Fatemi, would get the Senate tickets by the party.

PML-N stalwarts, Siddiqul Farooq and Pir Sabir Shah, may also be given the party tickets from the Punjab and from KP, respectively.

Under the procedure of the Senate elections, each provincial assembly elects its representatives on the basis of the party strength in that house.

Half of the senators of 104-member house retire after every three years on completion of their six-year term.

The Senate comprises 23 members from each of the four provinces, eight from Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and four from the Islamabad Capital Territory.

Each province has 14 general and nine reserved seats — four for women and technocrats each, while one seat is reserved for a non-Muslim community member.

For the 104-member house, all four provincial assemblies would cast vote for their respective representatives, while members of the National Assembly would elect two senators from the ICT and the Fata MNAs eight senators.