Senate deputy chairman: Three-hour canvassing gave us 16 votes, says PTI candidate

Published: March 16, 2015


ISLAMABAD: The result of the recently held elections for Senate’s deputy chairman in which the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) bagged 16 votes – more than double its strength – might have been a surprise for everyone, but for the PTI’s Shibli Faraz it is a matter of pride and the outcome of only three hours of canvassing.

What appeared to be a last-minute move of the PTI to field Shibli Faraz, son of renowned poet Ahmed Faraz – which gave a walkover to Raza Rabbani of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to be elected unopposed as the Senate chairman – seems to have paid off.

“I was told at 12:01pm [by the party leadership] to submit nomination papers for the election of deputy chairman Senate,” recalled Faraz while talking to The Express Tribune on Saturday. “I had only three hours for canvassing.”

The polls for the seat started at 3pm, before which Faraz met as many senators as he could to ask them to vote for him. He also found the opportunity to talk to female senators of all the political parties.

He sensed the situation turn panicky when he was filing the nomination papers, as “some of the JUI-F members thought that there was some plan behind my nomination”.

“I would have secured more than 25 votes had I started campaigning in the morning (9am),” he said responding to a question. Everyone asked for a vote had cast them in his favour, he added.

About the PTI’s decision of not contesting the election for chairman, Faraz said: “In my personal opinion, we should have contested.”

An investment banker by profession, Faraz is not new to the political arena: his family had long been attached with the PPP.

Before becoming a banker, he was a Pakistan Air Force pilot and then a civil servant. He had contested the election for the Kohat district nazim in 2002 and his uncle Barrister Syed Masood Kausar had served as the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governor in the last tenure of the PPP.

“After losing the district nazim election I had almost quit politics, until I heard PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s speech at his book launch in 2011,” said Faraz. “I said to myself that he is the man!”

PTI’s mission

Faraz not only subscribes to but is an ardent supporter of the PTI’s strategy of resignations from the national and provincial assemblies as well as the decision to contest the Senate polls. The party has arrived in the Senate with a plan.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 16th, 2015.

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