A total of 53 votes had been required to remove the chairman from his office.

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – The no-trust motion against Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, tabled by Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Raja Zafarul Haq, has been rejected on Thursday. 

A total of 100 senators, including Sanjrani, took part in the polling process. Senator Javed Abbasi was appointed the polling agent on behalf of the opposition, while Senator Nauman Wazir was appointed on behalf of the government.

50 votes were received in favour of the no-confidence motion while the opposition needed at least 53 votes for the resolution to be passed but fell just three votes short of victory. 

The upper House took up the first-ever no-trust motions against its chairman and deputy chairman, both of them cannot chair the session according to the rules; hence President Arif Alvi had nominated Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) to chair the session.

64 senators stood up in support of the motion to table the no-confidence resolution when Barrister Saif directed senators, who were in favour of the resolution, to stand on their seats.

The opposition nominated Javed Abbasi while members supporting Sanjrani nominated Noman Wazir as their polling agents.

The total number of Senate seats is 104. There are currently 103 senators as Ishaq Dar of the PML-N is yet to take oath. 

After disqualification of former premier Nawaz Sharif, 13 senators were elected as independent candidates, including Mushahid Hussain Syed, Sabir Shah, Mehmood-ul-Hasan, Rana Maqbool, Asad Ashraf, Asif Kirmani, Asad Junejo, Musadiq Malik, Shaheen Khalid Butt, Nizhat Sadiq, Kamran Micheal, Shameem Afridi and Hafiz Abdul Kareem.

The PTI has 14 senators, and its ally, the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) of which Sanjrani is a member, has eight. Seven senators from the erstwhile Fata are also with the ruling party. Its other allies include, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) with five senators and the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) and the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) with one senator each.

The PML-N has 30 senators, 17 of them were independents who had later joined the party. The PPP has 20, the NP has five, the JUI-F and the PkMAP have four each, the Jamaat-e-Islami has two and ANP has one.

Yesterday, Sanjrani refuted opposition’s demand of resigning from his post voluntarily and appears determined to fight till the end.

Sources familiar with the matter told the media that both, the government and the opposition were confident in line with their conscience.

PTI senator Shibli Faraz has asserted that the opposition’s attempt to de-seat Sanjrani would fail as the chairman would gain 60 votes in today’s balloting.

“Majority of the opposition members is not trusting Hasil Bizenjo [as the proposed leader of the upper House],” he said in his talk to the media.

Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhary took to Twitter today, and stated that it was an unfortunate that the no-confidence motion against chairman of the Senate was being held.

“This is a part of Abu Bachao campaign,” he said, adding that the premier and the government would remain unaffected by the motion; however the upper House of the parliament would be affected.

“Sadiq Sanjrani had maintained neutrality in the Senate, which would be influenced regardless of whosoever wins as the result of the no-trust motion,” he added.

The secretariat of the Senate sent a message to all the members detailing the procedure for voting under Rule 12(10) of the rules of procedure and conduct of business in the Senate, 2012.

It says that voting on the resolution(s) shall be secret and each member will have one vote only.

The members will not be allowed to carry mobile phones and cameras inside the polling booth. Disclosing the ballot paper or taking its photograph is strictly prohibited.

Rule 12(9) says the Senate shall not be adjourned until the motion for leave is disposed of or, if leave is granted, the resolution has been voted upon.

Rule 12(12) reads: “The Chairman or, as the case may be, Deputy Chairman, shall stand removed from his office on the resolution being passed by a majority of the total membership of the Senate.”

The presiding officer will announce the success or failure of no confidence move after counting. Voting on the move against Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwala would also follow the same procedure.

Yesterday, the Rehbar Committee of the joint opposition held meetings in Islamabad to finalise its strategy for the no-confidence motion against the sitting chairman.

Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser met Sadiq Sanjarani and expressed full support against opposition’s no confidence move. The leader of the house Shibli Faraz said the opposition’s demand for the resignation of Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani was “not a good tradition.”

Sanjarani passed his last day in his office and shifted all important files to his personal residence.

The leader of the opposition in the Senate Raja Zafar-ul-Haq and National Party’s (NP) Hasil Bizenjo addressed a luncheon hosted by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

Bilawal said it would be wise for the Senate chairman to resign before the vote so he could save himself from the embarrassment.

“He will be sent packing tomorrow in any case. We have enough numbers to de-seat him,” he added.

The opposition took the decision to remove the chairman of the upper house at a multi-party conference on June 26. The move is meant to be the first step towards mounting pressure on the PTI-led coalition government.

On July 9, the opposition parties submitted a resolution signed by 38 senators to the secretary of the Senate.

On last Tuesday, a Senate’s session was postponed after a short resumption as demanded by the opposition. Raja Zafarul Haq stated that the voting on a no-confidence motion filed against Sanjrani would be held on August 1. He demanded delay in the proceedings of the upper House due to voting on August 1.

Sanjrani had said that no-confidence motion against the chairman Senate could not be moved in the requisition session of the Senate and it can only be held in a regular session summoned by president.

In this regard, President Arif Alvi summoned the session of the upper House on August 1 at 2pm.