PO in Senate polls was ‘unbiased’, AGP tells court

IHC hears Gilani’s intra-court appeal against its March verdict

Our Correspondent June 30, 2021


The attorney general for Pakistan (AGP) on Tuesday told the Islamabad High Court that the presiding officer in the election for the chairman of the upper house of parliament was not “biased” as claimed by the lawyer representing Senate Opposition Leader Yousuf Raza Gilani.

An IHC division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mahmood Jahangiri was hearing Gilani’s intra-court appeal against the court’s own verdict.

In March this year, the high court had turned down the PPP leader's petition challenging the result of the Senate chairman election.

Gilani had filed the plea against the rejection of seven votes – cast in his favour – by a presiding officer on March 12 election for the slot of Senate chairman. The court stated that Senate proceedings were immune to judicial interference.

The AGP pointed out that presiding officer Muzaffar Hussain Shah had served as the chief minister and a senator and was not even affiliated with the ruling party.

“So how can he be biased?”

He added that according to law, a member of parliament was not accountable to anyone for his vote. “Now it is a matter of seven rejected votes. Have the seven members whose votes were rejected come to court? Not a single one of them has come forward till date.”

The court asked the attorney general as to whether or not a vote of confidence by the prime minister would be an internal parliamentary proceeding.

The attorney general replied in the affirmative, saying that no writ could be issued.

In its verdict in March, a 13-page order was authored by IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah.

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.

Ninety-eight senators had exercised their right to vote, out of which seven votes 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. Gilani had later moved the IHC.

Dismissing the petition, the IHC noted that the parliament was the supreme legislative organ of the state, which represented the people of Pakistan and maintaining its dignity, respect and independence was of paramount importance and a constitutional duty of other branches of the state.


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