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Pakistan

March 3, 2021

Senate election: PPP's Yousaf Raza Gillani defeats Hafeez Sheikh

Pakistan

Wed, Mar 03, 2021
Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani shaking hands with his contender Abdul Hafeez Shaikh. Photo: Screengrab via Geo News.

ISLAMABAD:  Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani has won the Senate seat, defeating PTI's Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.

Following the announcement of the Senate election polls which concluded today (Wednesday) at 5 pm,  Gilani and Sheikh shook hands and hugged each other. 

According to a report by Geo.tv, Hafeez's polling agent Zain Qureshi broke the news to him, after which the two men shook hands and embraced each other. 

Sources say that official results announcing Gillani's victory will be announced later.

Gilani's certificate of election for the Senate seat has also been duly issued by the ECP.


'This is the victory of democracy'

Shortly after the announcement of his victory in the Senate election, Yousaf Raza Gilani held a press conference and said that he is thankful to the PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as well as the PDM leadership, including PML-N's Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Akhtar Mengal, Maryam Nawaz, and ANP leadership, among others.

"This is the victory of democracy," he said. "The Islamabad seat was the most important seat in the Senate elections and everyone was eyeing it. [Through my win], the PDM has been victorious."

Adding to Gilani's point, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said that the PDM has won through the votes of MNAs, which is also a win for Pakistan.

He went on to say that PM Imran Khan should "resign from his post," adding that he should adopt sportsmanship and honourably accept his defeat.

"The PDM will decide a future course of action after mutual consultation with all members."

'Huge upset for PM Imran Khan'

Analysing the latest development, Geo anchorperson Shahzeb Khanzada said that Gilani's win would be a "huge upset for Prime Minister Imran Khan" as he had personally campaigned for Shaikh.

Khanzada added that Gillani's victory could make the prime minister "even more upset with Shehryar Afridi, who wasted his vote when he signed the ballot papers," the report said.

Senior ministers of the government such as Fawad Chaudhry and Sheikh Rashid had earlier claimed that Sheikh would defeat the former prime minister easily.

Analyst Irshad Bhatti agreed with Khanzada, saying that it was a "huge upset" for the government, adding that his earlier prediction that the former prime minister would lose had been proved wrong.

Senate polling concludes

Polling for the Senate election commenced at 9am and continued till 5pm after which the votes were counted.

The PDM fielded former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani as its joint nominee for the Islamabad seat against the PTI's Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.

PPP, PML-N jubilate Gilani's victory 

PPP  chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari took to Twitter and wrote "Democracy is the best revenge. Jeya Bhutto!" to celebrate the win of his party's candidate. 

General Secretary of  PML-N Sindh, Miftah Ismail also took a jibe at the PTI government and tweeted: 

"After the clear victory by Yousuf Raza Gillani, the government has clearly lost its majority in the National Assembly. 

Political morality [now] calls for the government to resign. But PTI and morality are two different things.

Disappointment for PTI leaders

On Sunday,  Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad supported Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and had said that he would "win the Senate election."

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Sheikh Rasheed said that Abdul Hafeez converted a $20 billion current account deficit to surplus through his efforts and supported Pakistan's declining economy.

The PTI gave Abdul Hafeez a ticket for Islamabad's general seat in the Senate election, and his nomination papers had been duly approved by the Election Commission of Pakistan.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more details come in.