Government-backed Mirza Afridi wins Senate deputy chairman election

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – The members of Upper House of the Parliament on Friday elected by a majority vote the government-backed Muhammad Mirza Afridi as deputy chairman.

Ex-FATA Senator Afridi secured 54 votes out of a total of 98 cast for the seat of Deputy Chairman Senate, defeating the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) – an 11-party opposition alliance – candidate Abdul Ghafoor Haideri who received only 44 votes.

Earlier, The members of Upper House of the Parliament on Friday elected by a majority vote the government-backed Sadiq Sanjrani as Chairman Senate.

Under the Senate election rules, the Upper House of Parliament elects the chairman by secret ballot.

Balochistan Senator Sanjrani secured 48 votes out of a total of 98 cast for the seat of Chairman Senate, defeating the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) – an 11-party opposition alliance – Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani who received only 42 votes, while eight votes have been rejected.

Earlier, 98 Senators cast their votes in alphabetical order through secret ballot at the Parliament House in Islamabad.

The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan didn’t appear and abstained from the voting while Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Ishaq Dar also didn’t turn up for the election as he was in London.

The Special Session of the Upper House of the Parliament was chaired by Senator Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah as the Presiding Officer. The polling process continued from 03:00 pm to 05:00 pm without any interval.

Opposition objects to rejection of ballots

Senator Farooq H Naek objected to the rejection of the ballots saying it was mentioned anywhere in the instructions where to stamp the ballot.

The president officer Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah in a ruling said keeping in view the clear instructions said seven ballots polled for Gilani were rejected, while another Senator had stamped against both the candidates.

Later Sadiq Sanjrani took oath of his office as Chairman for a term on next three years. The Presiding Officer administered the oath of office.

Sanjrani thanks Senators

In his remarks after taking oath, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani thanked the Senators who reposed confidence in him and voted in his favour.

He also thanked the entire leadership of PTI including Prime Minister Imran Khan for their support. He said that he will continue to take all the Senators along.

48 newly-elected members of Senate take oath

Earlier today, the newly-elected 48 members of the Upper House of the Parliament, Senate took oath during the specially convened session in Islamabad.

Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah, nominated as presiding officer by President Arif Alvi, chaired the session and administered the oath to the members-elect. The senators also signed the roll of members.

The newly elected 11 members from Punjab included PML-Q’s Kamil Ali Agha, PTI’s Saifullah Niazi, Aon Abbas, Ejaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Syed Ali Zafar, Zarqa Suharwardy Taimur, and PML-N’s Afnan Ullah Khan, Sajid Mir, Irfan-ul-Haq Siddiqui, Azam Nazeer Tara, Saadia Abbasi.

From Sindh, the 11 elected members included PPP’s Saleem Mandviwala, Sheher Bano Sherry Rehman, Taj Haider, Shahadat Awan, Jam Mahtab Hussain, Farooq Hamid Naek, Palwasha Mohammed Zai Khan, PTI’s Muhammad Faisal Vawda, Saifullah Abro and MQM-P’s Syed Faisal Ali Sabzwari, Khalida Ateeb.

The 12 senators elected from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) included PTI’s Mohsin Aziz, Syed Shibli Faraz, Liaquat Khan Tarakai, Faisal Saleem Rehman, Zeeshan Khan Zada, Dost Muhammad Khan, Muhammad Hamayun Mohmand, Sania Nishtar, Falak Naz, Gurdeep Singh, ANP’s Hidayatullah Khan and JUI-F’s Atta-ur-Rehman.

From Balochistan, the 12 elected members included BAP’s Prince Ahmed Umer Ahmedzai, Manzoor Ahmed, Sarfraz Ahmed Bugti, Saeed Ahmed Hashmi, Samina Mumtaz, Danesh Kumar, BNP’s Muhammad Qasim, ANP’s Umer Farooq, JUI’s Molana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Kamran Murtaza and independent candidates Muhammad Abdul Qadir, Naseema Ehsan.

New polling booth installed in Senate after opposition’s claim of spy cameras

A ruckus was created in the Upper House during the oath taking ceremony as the opposition stood up from seats and staged protest, claiming that hidden cameras were placed over polling booth. Senator Raza Rabbani said installing spy cameras was violation of the law.

Following the rumpus, presiding officer Senator Sayed Muzafar Hussain Shah ordered to make a new polling booth and allowed both the government and the opposition for inspection.

PPP senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar took to Twitter and shared a picture of an alleged camera along with caption, “Myself and Dr Musadik found spy cameras right over the polling booth."

Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and PML-N leader Musadik Malik talked to media afterwards and asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the Supreme Court (SC) to take notice of the incident.

On the other hand, Federal Minister for Information Shibli Faraz accused the opposition of installing camera over the polling booth and announced to conduct inquiry into the matter.