Saturday Mar 13, 2021
ISLAMABAD: The top leadership of the PPP met here on Saturday to discuss their candidate Yousaf Raza Gillani's shock defeat in polls held a day earlier for the Senate chairman's position.
Despite it holding superior numbers, the Pakistan Democratic Movement's (PDM) candidate lost to the government-backed Sadiq Sanjrani with votes split 42-48.
A total of eight votes were rejected — one, because it was stamped twice, and 7 because the voters had marked their stamps on Gillani's name instead of in the empty space in front of it.
Party co-chairs Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari today met with Gillani to discuss the 7 votes rejected by the presiding officer in the polls for the Senate chair and finalise a way forward.
The party has decided to take the matter to the Islamabad High Court, Geo News reported soon after the meeting.
The PPP leadership also formed a legal team comprising Farooq H. Naek, Nayyar Bukhari and Lateef Khosa to look into the matter and devise the party's legal strategy.
"The theft of 7 votes is a failed attempt to divide the Pakistan Democratic Movement," Bilawal said after the meeting.
"The PPP should not be considered weak. We will challenge the theft of our votes within and outside Parliament and on every forum," he said.
"PDM will challenge the vote thieves vigorously," he said.
Earlier in the day, Bilawal had dismissed speculation that the PML-N betrayed the PDM's candidates by wasting votes for the chairman's election and then casting 7 extra votes to the deputy chairman candidate backed by the government.
"Everyone showed loyalty," Bilawal was quoted as saying by Dawn.com.
"I know — we all know — that we won because the PDM remained united," he said.
Meanwhile, the senator who presided over the election, PML-F's Muzaffar Hussain Shah, said it was pointless to blame him for the loss.
He also said that nothing would come out of mounting a legal challenge to the election, as parliamentary proceedings were protected from court interventions under the law.
"Seven people from the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) deliberately wasted their votes," Shah said in response to criticism that he acted unfairly by rejecting the votes.
"The stamp was placed on all seven ballot papers in exactly the same way," Shah said. "Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Sadruddin Shah Rashidi's votes in Sindh had previously been rejected on the same grounds."
"These seven votes have been stolen from the Opposition's own house," Shah insisted. "The Opposition should investigate and find out which of its members are responsible for the theft."