ISLAMABAD: In a major shock to the combined opposition, incumbent Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani was re-elected to the chair of the upper house, defeating Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) hopeful Yousaf Raza Gilani.
From the upper house, 98 senators exercised their right to vote today, out of which seven votes were rejected. Sanjrani received 48 votes and Gilani 42.
Mirza Mohammad Afridi got 54 votes against Abdul Ghafoor Haidri got 44, 98 cast votes and no vote went into dustbin. Afridi became Deputy Chairman of Senate for the first time. He was though already the member of the senate.
The votes were rejected by the presiding officer (for Chairmanship election only), Syed Muzafar Hussain Shah, as the ballot papers were stamped on the candidate’s name instead of the box next to it.
“These seven ballot papers are rejected,” announced Shah. He added that one vote was rendered invalid as it was cast in favour of both the candidates.
The opposition challenged the result as at least six of the rejected votes were cast in favour of Gilani.
After winning the election and taking charge of the House’s proceedings, Sanjrani thanked Almighty Allah. He also thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan and members of the ruling coalition for reposing confidence in him for the coveted post.
Addressing the media outside the parliament following the ruling coalition’s victory in today’s poll, Information Shibli Faraz came down hard on the combined opposition, saying: “They [opposition] are people who have manipulated law and did everything for the sake of money. They have mastered corrupt practices… but, despite all this they have met defeat and insult today”.
“Today, they staged the drama of cameras. The votes that have been rejected can be re-checked through the screen footages.”
Faraz said the government will conduct an inquiry into the “drama they staged and in which they failed”. “They should be ashamed to have staged such propaganda,” he added.
“PPP has backstabbed PML-N… the drama of cameras was staged by them. We have only used legal and moral measures to win today’s elections.”
Speaking on the occasion, PTI Senator Faisal Javed said: “It is not only the victory of Sadiq Sanjrani, it is the victory of the whole of Balochistan.
“Today, the nation has to make a choice between two; one is [Prime Minister] Imran Khan, who does not want to mint money, and the second is the gang of corrupt and those who want to mint money.”
The people have rejected the PDM, he said, because they would not save the corrupt.
“The PDM has been defeated and the PML-N is sent packing… Insha Allah we will also win the election of deputy chairman.”
During the first half of the day’s session, the upper house swore in 48-newly elected senators. Senator Syed Muzafar Hussain Shah was nominated as the presiding officer by President Arif Alvi and was administered the oath.
The Senate session resumed at 3pm and Shah informed the members of the house that polling will conclude at 5pm, after which the results will be announced. Before the start of polling, officials showed lawmakers the empty ballot boxes. Names of the senators were then called out in alphabetical order to cast their votes.
Presiding Officer Shah will administer the oath to the newly-elected chairman of the upper house. The new Senate chairman will then preside over the remaining session during which polling for the office of the deputy chairman will be held. He would then administer the oath to the new deputy chair.
Opposition claims numbers on their side
Talking to media outside the Parliament, former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani claimed to have “numbers on his side to clinch victory”.
“God willing success will be ours again today as we have the whole number game,” he said. “In my time, we ran the House in a better way. Democracy flourished in our time. In those days people from all walks of life used to come here.”
“Those trying to rob Senate votes have lost their final battle today,” Maryam said on Twitter. “They [the government] had to eat their own words after defeat in the Supreme Court (SC) and failing to amend the Constitution which calls for secret ballots and not installing secret cameras.”