Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday congratulated Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani and newly-elected Deputy Chairman Mirza Mohammad Afridi on winning the coveted offices of the Upper House of the Parliament.
“I am happy Balochistan & former FATA got these two slots in line with my policy of mainstreaming those parts of Pak that have been marginalised or left behind in the past,” PM Imran said in a tweet.
Chairman Sanjrani was re-elected by defeating Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) hopeful Yousaf Raza Gilani. Ninety-eight senators exercised their right to vote, out of which seven votes were rejected. Sanjrani received 48 votes and Gilani 42.
Similarly, Mirza Mohammad Afridi, the government-backed candidate, won the post of Senate deputy chairman against PDM’s Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri. Afridi secured 54 votes against Haideri’s 44.
The votes were rejected by the presiding officer, 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.
The “controversial contest” was also marred by the discovery of ‘spy cameras’ in the Senate.
Addressing the media outside the parliament following the ruling coalition’s victory in the poll, Information Minister 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.”