ISLAMABAD -  Lawmakers Tuesday raised serious concerns in the National Assembly over the recent Senate elections, terming it a stigma in the political history of the country.

Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) chief Mehmood Achakzai, initiating the debate, alleged force and money were used in the Senate polls .

“The use of force and money is enough to shake the foundations of the country,” he said, speaking on a point of order. The recent Senate elections, Achakzai said, would be considered a stigma in the country’s political history.

“We should not be forced to come on roads,” he said, stating if the sale of vote was not a sin, “Mir Sadiq” and “Mir Jaffer” should also be forgiven. “The sale and purchase of vote is tantamount to playing with the Constitution,” Achakzai said. He called upon the democratic forces to rise against anti-democratic elements. “I have already said the fight between democratic and anti-democratic forces has started,” Achakzai said.

The PkMAP chief alleged an army officer in Balochistan was busy in tempting and threatening members of the Balochistan Assembly. He further said his allegations should be probed. “If his allegations prove false, he should be punished otherwise the officer deputed in Balochistan should be taken to task,” Achakzai said.

He, in a lighter vein, remarked the sacrifice of former Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani was given only to bring two opposition parties, PPP and PTI, closer. Achakzai said he had escaped arrest despite using harsh words in his speeches. “Someone asked me why you are not arrested even after using harsh remarks. I responded, I will not be arrested but assassinated,” he said.

Taking part in the debate, PPP’s Naveed Qamar said the consensus candidate against the government’s candidate was not a move against the Constitution. “This is not an adventure of a colonel or a major,” averred the PPP MNA.

He said PML-N should have given importance to the Parliament. “It is my request the process should continue so that we all could proceed to the general elections,” the lawmaker said.

Taking the floor, Jamaat-e-Islami’s Sahibzada Tariqullah even cursed the politicians for “selling their votes” in the Senate elections. “I curse those who were involved in selling their votes in the Senate elections,” he said. “Main political leaders, Nawaz, Zardari, Imran, Sirajul Haq and others, should swear that they did not use money,” Tariqullah said.

PPP MNA Shazia Marri held once supporters of Gen Ziaul Haq were now calling Zulfikar Ali Bhutto a shaheed and praising his ideology. “Had they respected the ideology of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the shape of the country would have been different today,” she said.

PTI’s Shehryar Afridi, on his turn, asked why the PkMAP chief did not raise objections when offers were being given to the Fata parliamentarians. “After losing the Senate polls , you have started raising concerns,” he said.  PML-N MNA Capt (r) Safdar said former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had revived the ideology of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as PPP had forgotten the same. “It is Nawaz Sharif who has revived the ideology of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as you (PPP) have forgotten his ideology,” he remarked.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) MNA Naeema Kishwar urged the ECP to take up the issue of horse-trading in the Senate elections. “I demand legislation with regard to Senate elections,” she remarked.

PPP’s Ramesh Kumar said there was a need to revive the respect of the parliament. “All political parties need to jointly revive respect of the parliament,” said Kumar, while criticising the Senate polls .

Other lawmakers proposed legislation for conducting direct elections of the Senate to avoid horse-trading.