Chaos swept over the Pakistan Senate or the Upper House of the Parliament on Friday during voting for the Senate Chairman’s post after the Federal Minister for Information Shibli Faraz accused the opposition of installing spy cameras over the polling booth for the chairman and deputy chairman elections.
Before the voting process commenced, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar claimed that “spy” cameras were installed right over the polling booth. It was reported that Chinese spy cams were discovered inside the Senate hall. Senator Raza Rabbani said installing spy cameras was a violation of the law.
Following the accusation, many MPs rose in uproar and the voting process was disrupted.
The Senate was holding a secret ballot today to elect its chairman and deputy chairman. Earlier, 48 newly elected members of the upper house took the oath.
On March 3, Senate elections were organised in Pakistan on the seats for which current MPs were set to retire on March 11. The Senate Secretariat had informed that the oath-taking ceremony of the newly-elected senators would be taking place in the morning, followed by the election for the chairman and deputy chairman in the afternoon or evening.
Former PM Yusuf Raza Gilani of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was nominated by the Pakistan Democratic Movement(PDM), the opposition alliance of 11 parties, for the chairman’s post while Maulana Ghafoor Haidri of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) was nominated for the deputy chairman post.
On the other hand, the incumbent Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) of Prime Minister Imran Khan, along with its allies, selected Sadiq Sanjrani for the chairman’s post and Mirza Mohammad Afridi for deputy chairman.
A fierce competition between the two sides is expected in the House of 100. The one who will be able to get 51 votes will be the winner. The opposition claims it has the support of 51 senators. Similar claims have been made by the government.
The two sides have accused each other of using money and other tricks to lure legislators to support their candidates.
Earlier, Gilani’s win as a senator from Islamabad general seat was a bummer for Pakistan PM Imran Khan, who had campaigned for his Cabinet colleague, PTI candidate and Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh. Though, Gilani had narrowly defeated Shaikh by racking up 169 votes as compared to his rival who got 164 votes.
The tenure of a Senator in Pakistan is for six year, with half of them retiring after three years. A new chairman and his deputy is elected after every three years to run the upper house.