ISLAMABAD: The opposition parties were left confounded on Thursday when despite having a majority in the Senate and almost certain of their success, they failed to unseat the chairman of the house, Sadiq Sanjrani, bagging only 50 votes -- three short of the required number – in their no-confidence motion.
According to the results of the secret ballot, 50 senators cast their votes in favour of the motion, 45 against it and five votes were rejected -- a major blow to the joint opposition, which was expecting to sail through believing that at least 63 senators were firmly under their belt.
However, this did not appear to be the case as the motion was dismissed after the opposition parties failed to secure the simple majority of 53 required to remove Sanjrani from his post.
Interestingly, the opposition’s resolution, tabled earlier, to move the no-confidence motion against the Senate chairman was passed with 64 senators voting in its favour.
The government and its allies’ attempt to unseat Senate Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwalla also failed as only 32 senators were in favour of the resolution tabled against him.
Opposition not to spare party members who voted against Sanjrani's ouster
In the 104-member house, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the National Party (NP), the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), the Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), and the Awami National Party (ANP) have a combined strength of 67 senators. There are currently 103 senators as Ishaq Dar of the PML-N is yet to take oath. Two senators belonging to the JI abstained from voting. In comparison, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its allies have 38 senators in the house.
The session commenced at around 2pm and opposition leader in the house Raja Zafarul Haq of the PML-N presented the resolution to move a no-confidence motion against Sanjrani.
The resolution read, “Whereas Senator Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani has ceased to command the confidence of a majority of members of Senate as Chairman, House resolves and declares that Senator Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani has ceased to hold the office of Chairman, Senate of Pakistan”.
It was signed by 44 opposition senators and sought Sanjrani’s removal under Rule 12 (Removal of Chairman or Deputy Chairman) of the Rules of Procedure in Conduct of Business in the Senate.
A total of 64 members rose in favour of the motion and consequently the leave to move the motion was granted by Barrister Muhammad Ali Khan Saif, who was nominated by President Arif Alvi to preside the session.
Leader of the House Senator Syed Shibli Faraz then moved a motion requesting leave to move a resolution for the removal of Mandviwalla as the deputy chairman of the Senate.
The resolution stated, “whereas Senator Saleem Mandviwalla has ceased to command confidence of majority of members of Senate as Deputy Chairman, House resolves and declares that Senator Saleem Mandviwala has ceased to hold the office of Deputy Chairman, Senate of Pakistan”.
The opposition staged a walkout as the resolution was read out. Only five opposition members, including Mandviwalla himself, cast their votes.
Only 32 votes were cast in favour of the resolution, well short of the 53 required for carrying the motion forward.
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