PPP hopeful of winning back Senate Chairman’s slot

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan People’s Party is hopeful of winning back the Senate Chairman’s slot as it claims the Pakistan Democratic Movement candidate received more votes than the ruling Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf on March 12. Yesterday, the PPP challenged the recently held election of Senate chairman in the Islamabad High Court. The petition, filed by Farooq H Naek on behalf of Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani, PDM’s candidate for chairman of the upper house, prays to the court to stop Sadiq Sanjrani from working as a new Senate chairman by declaring the election null and void since the PDM members have majority in the House. The petition further reads that the decision to reject votes cast in favour of Gillani was unconstitutional. “We were deprived of our Senate chairman seat unfairly. 

And that the notification, issued on March 12, declaring Sadiq Sanjrani as chairman was unconstitutional,” the petitioner adds.

Speaking to The Nation, Yousaf Raza Gillani said he was sure to get justice and win the Senate’s top slot. “We won on March 12. Our election was stolen by the PTI. We will get justice from the court,” he said.

Gillani, a former prime minister, said the PDM members had voted for him for the top Senate post. “They (the voters) did not break any rule. The stamps were posted inside the box. Seven votes were rejected by a biased presiding officer,” he said.

PPP leader Nayyer Bukhari said rejection of seven votes cast in favour of PDM candidate Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani proved to be a game changer.

He was of the view that the presiding officer had wrongly rejected the votes. He further said that when PDM leaders asked for the ballot papers’ record, the request was not accepted. 

Bukhari said that the PPP had challenged the presiding officer’s decision under Article 199. He pointed out that there was the same column for stamping on the candidate’s name.

“Actually it is voter’s intention that needs to be looked into,” he argued. On March 12, a controversy was witnessed during the Senate chairman elections, when the PTI-backed candidate Sadiq Sanjrani once again defied the odds to become Senate chairman yet again after a knife-edge poll. Sanjrani received 48 votes while his opponent and Pakistan Democratic Movement candidate Yosuf Raza Gillani could get 42 votes.

There was a controversy in the vote counting as seven of Gillani’s votes have been rejected as the voters failed to stamp in the box correctly. Farooq H Naek, the representative of Gillani, challenged the decision, however, the presiding officer rejected his objection and said the grieved party can challenge his decision in the Election Tribunal.

The presiding officer said the rules were clearly mentioned to stamp the vote in front of the candidate’s box and the voters who stamped on the name of the candidate have been rejected.

Meanwhile, Secretary General of the PPP Parliamentarians Farhatullah Bababr has expressed grave concern over the reports of denuding of mango orchards and converting into urban property over the past years by the Defence Housing Authority Multan.

Reckless conversion of mango orchards and farmlands into urban property will have a disastrous impact on agriculture, food security and environment he said in a statement.

“Food security is far more important than building housing authorities”, he said and called for transparent inquiry into the reports.

Farhatullah Babar also raised questions about how the urban property developer the DHAs had proliferated in the country and at what cost.

He said Pakistan is committed to achieving targets of sustainable development set out in the UN Sustainable Development Goals including environmental protection. Pakistan’s national parliament was among the first in the world to endorse it.

He urged the government to reevaluate the urban housing development by the DHAs in the country and address the issues that only generated controversies. Credible assurances must be given that DHAs and other urban development schemes will not be allowed at the cost of agriculture, orchard farms, food security and environmental protection, he said.  

 

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