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March 13, 2018

Zardari-Imran combination wins: Sadiq, Saleem ‘steal’ Senate from Sharif

Top Story

March 13, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was defeated in the Senate election on Monday, as the joint opposition’s Sadiq Sanjrani was elected as Chairman Senate and Saleem Mandviwala as Deputy Chairman, defeating the PML-N and its allies’ candidates Raja Zafarul Haq and Usman Kakar. Sanjrani is the first-ever Senate chairman from Balochistan.

The PPP and PTI had agreed to support Sanjrani after Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo sought their support. Others who backed him were Fata and independent senators from Balochistan, besides the MQM lawmakers.

Sanjrani pocketed 57 out of a total of 103 votes, while Raja Zafar got 46. Mandviwala secured 54 votes compared to his opponent Usman Kakar who grabbed 44 votes. Ninety-eight votes were polled during the election of deputy chairman and no vote was rejected.

PML-N Senator-elect Ishaq Dar could not take part in the voting, as he is under treatment in a London hospital. Sanjrani, who hails from the Chagai district, also polled his vote for Mandviwala.

The Senate hall was dense with thunderous sloganeering. The most prominent slogan was ‘Ek Zardari Sab Pay Bhari’ (Zardari alone outweighs all). After taking oath as the deputy chairman, Mandivwala waved his fist in the air to respond to the PPP senators and workers’ sloganeering.

Soon after his election, Sanjrani telephoned PTI Chairman Imran Khan and thanked him for his party’s support. The margin of defeat of PML-N (46-57) candidate was quite surprising for many, even in the opposition’s camp.

Apart from the tussle, the polling was held peacefully through a secret ballot amid chants in favour of respective party leaders. MQM’s five senators abstained from voting during the election for the post of deputy chairman, as their leadership had already announced a boycott.

“Congratulations to Baloch Senator Sadiq Sanjrani for becoming the Senate chairman! This will strengthen the Federation. We are happy for the people of Balochistan & for the federation of Pakistan,” PTI Chairman Imran Khan said in a tweet.

Former chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani asserted that none could stop the supremacy of parliament and added that the fight for its supremacy would be fought inside the House and if the need arose, it would be fought even outside. Former leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq congratulated the new chairman on his election and said he was elected through a democratic process.

He was hopeful that the set traditions would be maintained while assuring the chairman of the government’s cooperation in this connection. Usman Kakar of PkMAP said all the political parties should forge unity for the supremacy of parliament. He said making amendments to the Constitution was the mandate of parliament and not of the judiciary. He said it would be good if the new chairman Senate worked for supremacy of the Constitution. He praised Mian Raza Rabbani for making the Senate powerful which had been without power. “All democratic people should be proud of him,” he asserted. Earlier, speaking to the media, Raza Rabbani dispelled the impression of differences in the PPP and said he stood with his party. In the first sitting, presiding officer Senator Sardar Yaqoob Khan Nasir of PML-N administered oath to the senators-elect.

The PPP’s Hindu senator-elect from Thar Krishna Kohli came to the Parliament House along with her parents in traditional Thari dress. In a brief chat with the media, Senator Kohli said she wanted to work on healthcare and water-related issues, which were the biggest problems facing women in Tharparkar.

Later, talking to media persons here at the Parliament House, Senate Chairman Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani vowed to take along all in the Senate. He expressed his gratitude to ex-president Asif Ali Zardari and PTI Chairman Imran Khan and others for their support during his election as chairman of the Senate.

Sanjrani emphasised not to let anyone do injustice to others in the House and that he would play his role in the progress of the province of Balochistan and Pakistan, taking along all friends. “All are equal to me,” he remarked. The Senate chairman said that he was grateful to the Balochistan chief minister or naming him for the slot of the Upper House of Parliament.

In reply to a question, he maintained that all were seasoned politicians in the House and they knew well about the Senate proceedings. He pledged to run the Senate smoothly without giving a chance to anyone to complain.

Earlier, nomination papers filed in the Senate Secretariat for the slots of chairman Senate and deputy chairman Senate were accepted after detailed scrutiny. Secretary Senate Amjed Pervez Malik received the nomination papers from the contesting candidates and supervised the overall scrutiny process.

Senator Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani and Senator Raja Muhammad Zafarul Haq filed their nomination papers in the Senate Secretariat for the slot of chairman Senate and Senator Saleem Mandviwala and Senator Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar filed their nomination papers for the slot of Deputy Chairman Senate. The nomination papers were filed by the candidates in the office of Secretary Senate.

For the slot of Chairman Senate, the name of Sanjrani was proposed by Senator Islamuddin Shaikh and Muhammad Azam Swati where as Raja Muhammad Zafarul Haq’s name was proposed by Senators Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, Mir Kabeer Ahmed Muhammad Shahi, Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar, Parvez Rashid and Molana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri.

Similarly, Senators Kauda Babar and Mohsin Aziz proposed Senator Saleem Mandviwala for Deputy Chairman Senate. Senators Sardar Muhammad Azam Khan Musakhel, Mushahidullah and Mushahid Hussain Sayed proposed Senator Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar for Deputy Chairman Senate.