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Sadiq Sanjrani elected as chairman Senate

13 March, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: The Upper House of parliament on Monday elected opposition-backed candidates Sadiq Sanjrani as chairman and Saleem Mandviwala as deputy chairman.

Sanjrani secured 57 votes, while PML-N’s Raja Zafarul Haq secured 46 out of the total 103 votes cast for the seat of the Senate chairman. In another blow to the ruling PML-N and its allies, PPP’s Saleem Mandviwalla was elected as deputy chairman of Senate. Mandviwala faced PML-N-backed Usman Khan Kakar from PkMAP and secured
54 votes.

Sanjrani, an independent senator from Balochistan, was supported by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P).

The MQM’s five senators, however, abstained from the deputy chairman’s election due to differences with the PPP.

Following the conclusion of the polling, Sanjrani was sworn in by Senator Sardar Yaqoob Khan Nasir, formally electing him as the Senate chairman. Sanjrani later took oath from Mandviwala.

Earlier in the day, ruling PML-N had announced to field Senator Raja Zafarul Haq for the Senate chairman slot and Usman Kakar of the PkMAP for the deputy chairman seat.

Opposition parties welcomed the election of both Sanjrani and Mandviwala while the ruling alliance termed their election ‘a victory of undemocratic forces’.

Addressing the House after the election, National Party President Hasil Bizenjo said, “Today parliament lost and powerful forces won.” The election for top slot of Senate showed that some forces were more powerful than parliament, he said. “Forces have shown that they treat parliament like a market from where they can purchase the loyalty of any lawmaker or party,” he said.

“I feel shame while sitting in this parliament,” Bizenjo said, to which PPP’s newly elected Senator Maula Bakhsh Chandio asked him to tender resignation. “Parliament would have won had Raza Rabbani been re-elected chairman of Senate,” he said, adding the parliament was ‘destroyed in the name of Balochistan’.

The NP leader requested the ‘powerful forces’ to allow parliament to perform its duties and warned that the country had already been isolated at the international level.

PkMAP Senator Usman Kakar said that some institutions always intervened in parliamentary affairs and ‘tried to defeat democracy’. “Some intelligence agencies are always busy in destabilising the parliament. They did not learn a lesson even from 1971 episode,” he added.

Former Senate chairman Raza Rabbani thanked the ruling PML-N and other political parties for considering him the best for the chairman’s slot once again.

Aurganzeb Khan, Sitara Ayaz and Raja Zafarul Haq also briefly addressed the Senate. The newly elected Senate chairman began his political career in 1998 by serving as coordinator of the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Balochistan until military coup in 1999.

He served as head of the complaint cell in Prime Minister’s Secretariat during tenure of PPP’s Yousaf Raza Gilani. He also served as special assistant to former chief minister of Balochistan Sanaullah Zehri until he tendered his resignation.

Mandviwala was elected as senator in March 2015 on the ticket issued by the PPP. He served as president of the Board of Investment. He also served as state minister for investment from late 2008 to early 2013.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto have felicitated Sadiq Sanjrani after his stunning victory as chairman of the Senate.

“Congratulations to Baloch Senator Sadiq Sanjirani for becoming Chairman Senate. This will strengthen the federation. We are happy for the people of Balochistan & for the federation of Pakistan,” Khan tweeted.

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