Saturday Mar 13, 2021
ISLAMABAD: Opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement will challenge in court today the rejection of seven votes cast in favour of their candidate Yousaf Raza Gillani, who lost the Senate chairman election to Sadiq Sanjrani by six votes a day earlier.
The government candidate for the chairmanship of the Senate Sadiq Sanjrani got 48 votes, whereas Yousaf Raza Gillani got 42 votes after which Sanjrani was elected as the Senate Chairman.
Seven voters stamped their vote on top of Gillani's name which resulted in the ejection of these votes. One vote was rejected because both candidates' names were stamped.
Opposition leaders Bilawal Bhutto, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Maryam Nawaz, Ahsan Iqbal, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and others all rejected Sanjrani's victory.
In a joint press conference after the Senate election outside Parliament House, Opposition leaders expressed their apprehensions.
Ashraf said the manner in which Gillani was defeated despite the opposition's majority in the upper house of parliament is "reprehensible". He also questioned how it came to be that six hidden cameras had been installed in the House.
He said that a directive was issued to stamp the vote inside the space allotted for a candidate's name. "Seven members stamped their vote inside the space allotted for Gillani, on his name," he said.
Ashraf said that the opposition hopes that Gillani will emerge victorious in court.
He said that the government "used every tactic to steal the election" and the chairman has been appointed after the opposition's majority having been denied to them.
"If Sanjarani was a lover of democracy, he would have resigned himself," he said.
Meanwhile, PML-N General Secretary Ahsan Iqbal claimed that PDM "succeeded".
"We got 49 votes but Yousaf Raza Gilani was defeated after seven votes were rejected," he had said.
Iqbal also read out the Supreme Court's earlier rulings on the matter during the press conference and said that the court ruled that the voter's intention has to be seen.
"Stamping the name box means that the voter has the right intent and [aims to vote for that candidate]," he said.
He said that there were dozens of decisions by the Supreme Court and the High Court and rulings of the Election Commission that the ballot was valid even if the vote was stamped above the name. "Rules clearly state that the vote must simply be stamped inside the candidate's box," he said, adding: "The voter that stamped the name is not wrong to do so."
The PML-N leader said that all seven of the votes were stamped within the box of the candidate. "We will challenge the rejection of votes in court and expect it to rectify this decision," he said.
No good could be expected from an ‘incompetent government’, PDM chief Fazlur Rehman was quoted as saying by Dawn.
He said the solution to people’s problems lies in overthrowing the present regime.
Fazl was speaking to the media at a protest camp of Bittani tribes in Dera Ismail Khan on Friday. He reiterated to march towards Islamabad in the month of March, adding that a meeting of the PDM leaders on March 15 would decide a future line of action in this regard.
PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said the Senate chairman election 2021 "has been stolen right in front of the eyes of the people".
Bilawal claimed that PDM — the Opposition parties' anti-government coalition — "has defeated the [PTI] government in the National Assembly and the Senate".
"Their bias and their biased, illegal decision is right in front of you. Seven votes for the chairman of the Senate of Pakistan were cast in favour of Yousaf Raza Gillani.
"Those votes were cast properly, legally, constitutionally, but seven senators of the Senate of Pakistan were purposefully disenfranchised and Gillani sahab, despite winning, has still not sat on that seat in the Senate.
"A vote is 'cast' when the intention of the voter becomes clear. Seven votes were invalidly rejected [but] if these seven votes are added, then Yousaf Raza Gillani has won. Yousaf Raza Gillani has become the chairman of the Senate.
Bilawal said they hope that justice will be served and the high court will rule in their favour.
He noted that there was "evidence of the Senate secretary telling our people that the stamp mark can be inside the box".
"I also stamped on my name in the general election. This is an open case, we hope we get justice from the courts," Bilawal said.