ISLAMABAD: Sadiq Sanjrani has emerged as the winner of the Senate chairman election, defeating Opposition candidate Yousaf Raza Gillani.
Amid a raging controversy over the alleged sale and purchase of votes and allegations flying thick and heavy between the Opposition and the government, the knife-edge elections for the posts of Senate chairman and deputy chairman were held today (Friday).
Polling for the Senate chairman’s post started at 3:00pm, presided over by officials from the Senate Secretariat. The process of voting completed at 4:40 pm, but counting started after the official time, i.e. 5:00pm.
Earlier in the day, the newly-elected members of the Upper House had taken their oath of office shortly after the session began at 10:00am.
PTI’s Sadiq Sanjrani and Mirza Muhammad Afridi, and the joint opposition’s Yousaf Raza Gillani and Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri are contesting for the slots of Senate chairman and deputy chairman, respectively.
Sadiq Sanjrani takes the oath as the Senate chairman while the Opposition continues to protest against Gilani’s rejected votes by chanting slogans.
Sanjrani thanked the members of the Senate, adding that he is particularly grateful to the PTI leadership.
“I would especially like to thank Pervaiz Khattak,” the newly-elected Senate chairman said.
According to the presiding officer, Sadiq Sanjrani received 48 votes, while Yousaf Raza Gillani received 42 votes.
Following the announcement that seven votes cast for Yousaf Raza Gillani were rejected because the stamps were not correctly placed on the ballot paper, PPP Senator Farooq H Naik tells the presiding officer: “You do not have the right to reject the vote if it has been stamped outside the box in front of the candidate’s name.”
“The rejected votes that you are talking about have been stamped within the boxes in front of the candidates’ names,” he said, adding that the rules are silent regarding where one can stamp on the ballot paper.
“Why should the voter suffer due to the mistake of the secretariat,” says Naek to the presiding officer.
In response to the argument, the presiding officer says that the stamp must be placed in front of the candidate’s name to be considered valid.
Sadiq Sanjrani becomes Senate chairman once again. According to the presiding officer, seven votes cast for Yousaf Raza Gillani were rejected because the stamps were not placed on the ballot paper correctly.
The counting of votes for the Senate chairman’s election has officially started. The last vote was cast by the presiding officer, Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah.
The polling for the Senate chairman ended after 98 senators voted in the elections. The counting will start after the official polling closure time, i.e. 5pm.
The two voters that did not vote were Ishaq Dar, who is yet to take oath of officer. While JI Senator Mushtaq Ahmed abstained from voting.
Jamaat-e-Islami Senator Mushtaq Ahmed abstained from casting his vote in the elections.
The senator’s name was called twice by the presiding officer but he did not get up from his seat.
The senator had already announced that he will not take part in the elections after his party boycotted the polls.
At least, 75 senators have, so far, cast their votes in the elections of the Senate chairman being held in the upper house of Parliament.
The senators are being called to cast their votes in alphabetical order
The government senators stood up from their seats in protest as PPP’s Sherry Rehman demanded that cameras inside the Upper House be turned off shortly after the house began voting for the Senate chairman.
Polling for the Senate chairman election begins, with a Senate staff member announcing the names of the Senators in alphabetical order.
The ballot boxes were opened for the senators to see and were sealed after they were satisfied.
JUI-F’s Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri cast the first vote.
According to the presiding officer, the polling process will go on till 5pm.
The presiding officer announced that a committee has been formed to probe the “spy camera” fiasco.
The committee will comprise three members each from the government and the Opposition, he announced.
Polling for the Senate chairman election will be underway shortly. The session is being presided over by Returning Office Muzaffar Hussain Shah.
The presiding officer confirms he has received an application for an inquiry over the Senate fiasco concerning “spy cameras”.
The presiding officer then explains the procedure for the Senate elections and asks the candidates and their polling agents to check the polling booth for their satisfaction.
After the “spy camera” controversy, various senators, including Mustafa Nawaz Khohar, Mohsin Aziz, Ali Zafar and Saifullah Niazi, are reviewing the new polling booth.
The doors near to the polling booth have been taped shut as lawmakers checked for any suspicious activity near the booth.
PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal has filed an application with the National Assembly secretary to secure a copy of CCTV footage of the Parliament House for the last 24 hours.
“Application given to secretary National Assembly to secure a copy of CCTV footage of Parliament House for last 24 hours to find out culprits behind installation of spy cameras in Senate Hall and to ensure security of data,” tweeted Iqbal.
The sources said that the PM was briefed by the PTI leaders regarding the government’s numbers for the Senate elections.
They added that the PM will leave for Sohawa after the Senate elects its new chairman and deputy chairman.
After the last polling booth became controversial, a new one has been set up for the elections of the Senate chairman and his deputy in the upper house of Parliament.
The new polling booth was set up in the presence of the Senate secretary.
The secretary, after setting up the polling booth, said that the polling agents and the candidates can come and review the new booth.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has called on incumbent Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani to resign from his post as he had compromised the integrity of the upper house.
The PPP chairman, who spoke to the media at the Parliament House, also said that investigations should be held regarding the emergence of the alleged spy cameras.
With the election of Senate chairman becoming controversial after the emergence of alleged “spy cameras”, it has emerged that the in charge of the senate security was appointed on March 11 — a day before the polls.
At least 98 senators will take part in the Senate elections being held for the Senate chairman and deputy chairman.
One of the senators that will not be voting in the elections is Ishaq Dar, who has not taken oath of office yet. The other senator that will not skip the voting is Mushtaq Ahmed of the JI as his party had announced that they will be abstaining from the vote.
The Senate secretary has announced that the polling booth will be changed.
He has called members of the Opposition and government. The polling booth will be changed at 2pm, he said.
PML-N’s Musadik Malik recorded a video on Friday in which he shows the “spying devices” which were allegedly installed to monitor the Senate chairman and deputy chairman election in the Upper House.
The election, scheduled for 3pm today has become controversial after Malik and PPP’s Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar claimed to have discovered multiple ‘spying devices’ installed in and near the polling both.
“Where Khokhar sahab is standing, here the polling booth was installed,” Malik can be heard saying in the video. “And here, you can see the first camera that was installed here,” adds the PML-N Senator, holding an object tied to a wire in his hand.
“This camera was installed at the exact angle from where it is possible to see where a senator is stamping on his ballot paper,” he added.
Maryam Nawaz Sharif slammed the emergence of “hidden cameras” in the Senate ahead of the elections for the new chairman and his deputy.
The PML-N leader tweeted that the Constitution has mentioned “secret voting” but not “secret cameras”.
“The constitution has mentioned secret voting but not secret cameras. Have some shame vote thieves, leave the seat,” said Maryam.
The PML-N leader said that those leading a robbery in Senate have lost the last “war” after the RTS fiasco and fog in Daska elections.
Maryam said that the government after being humiliated by the Supreme Court, failing in passing constitutional amendment and the presidential ordinance being turned into a piece of paper brought in “camera mechanics”.
PPP Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar claimed that “credible sources in the senate staff” have told him that incumbent chairman Sadiq Sanjrani left the senate building at 5:30am in the morning.
“Credible sources in senate staff disclosing that Sadiq Sanjarani left the senate building 530 in the morning!” tweeted Khokhar.
The government has nominated PTI Senator Mohsin Aziz as the polling agent for Sadiq Sanjrani, while Opposition has nominated Farooq H Naek as the polling agent for Yousuf Raza Gillani.
Meanwhile, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri has nominated Kamran Murtaza has his polling agent.
Name of Mohammad Mirza Afridi’s polling agent is yet to be reported.
Opposition candidate Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidiri will take on government candidate Mohammad Mirza Afridi in the elections for the Senate deputy chairman after both the candidates nomination papers were accepted.
Opposition candidate Yousuf Raza Gilani will take on incumbent Sadiq Sanjrani in the elections for the Senate chairman after both the candidates nomination papers were accepted.
Minutes after submitting his nomination papers for Senate chairman elections, PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari met Senator Yousaf Raza Gillani in the upper house of parliament.
The meeting between the two is taking place in Senator Sherry Rehman’s chambers.
Independent Senator Shamim Afridi on Friday formally joined the PPP in the Senate, after PPP’s Sherry Rehman informed the Senate secretary about the former’s inclusion in the party.
With Afridi’s inclusion, the PPP’s total in the senate now stands at 21.
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry triggered a back-and-for Twitter exchange with Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar when he tweeted a picture of the spy camera, saying that its detection is impossible.
He had said that spy cameras can be installed inside the head of a nail even.