Gilani challenges Senate chairman election in IHC

The former premier contends that seven votes in his favour were illegally rejected


Our Correspondent March 22, 2021

ISLAMABAD:

Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has challenged in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) the polls held last week to fill the top positions in the Senate, requesting the court to declare the election void. IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah will take up the plea tomorrow [Wednesday].

On March 12, the ruling PTI-backed candidates grabbed the top slots of the Senate in a “controversial contest” marred by the discovery of “spy cameras” in the polling booths.

In the polls, incumbent Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani was re-elected. He had defeated Gilani, a joint candidate of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) – an opposition parties’ alliance.

Ninety-eight senators had exercised their right to vote, out of which seven votes – most of which cast in favour of Gilani, were rejected. Sanjrani who had received 48 votes as opposed to 42 votes of Gilani was later declared the winner by the presiding officer, Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah.

In his petition – filed through Farooq H Naek – the PPP leader nominated the federal government through secretary law, Sadiq Sanjrani, Muzaffar Hussain Shah, Senate Secretariat, Senate secretary and secretary parliamentary affairs as respondents.

Gilani also annexed with the petition the attested statements of Senator Musadiq Malik and Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar with regard to discovery of hidden cameras in the polling booth as well as the details of the meeting of a PPP delegation with the Senate secretary.

Read more: ECP summons Gilani in Senate case

The PPP leader accused presiding officer Shah of partiality claiming that the senator  belongs to the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), which is an ally of the ruling PTI.

He said the election was rigged and should be declared null and void as the presiding officer illegally rejected the seven votes cast in his favour. “Yousuf Raza Gilani's rejected votes should be accepted and he should be declared the chairman of the Senate,” the petition said.

The petitioner also requested the court “to stay/suspend notification dated 12-03-2021…issued by the Respondent No 5 [Senate Secretariat] through Respondent No 4 [Senate secretary]” and “to restrain the Respondent No 6 [Sadiq Sanjrani] from acting or carrying out duties of Senate chairman.”

Earlier, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) also issued a notice to Gilani, summoning him on March 22 [Monday] in response to a petition, challenging the PPP leader’s election as senator.

In a huge upset, Gillani on March 3 defeated the ruling coalition’s candidate Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in polls for the Senate's key seat from Islamabad.

The election was challenged in the ECP by Advocate Azhar Siddiq. The petitioner stated that the PDM candidate’s win should be declared null and void as the polls were not transparent.

He stated that rigging is a crime and it should be investigated. The petitioner argued that latest technologies were not used in the polls to curb rigging despite order of the Supreme Court.

 

 

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