Pakistan's former premier Gilani challenges results of Senate chairman election in high court

Sajjad Hussain
·2-min read

Islamabad, Mar 22 (PTI) Pakistan's former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani on Monday challenged the results of the Senate chairman election more than a week after he lost in the keenly-fought contest.

Sadiq Sanjrani, 42, the incumbent Senate chairman who was backed by Prime Minister Imran Khan's ruling alliance, defeated 68-year-old Gilani, who was joint candidate of the Pakistan Democratic Movement's (PDM) - an alliance of all main opposition parties.

Sanjrani polled 48 votes while Gilani got 42 in the 99-member Senate, dealing a blow to the joint Opposition despite having a majority in the Upper House. A total of 98 senators voted in the election.

Eight votes were rejected out of whom seven were stamped on the name of Gilani. The Opposition has 52 members in the upper house while the ruling coalition has 47 senators.

Farooq H Naek filed the petition on Gilani's behalf in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) which was accepted for hearing on March 24 by Chief Justice Athar Minallah.

Gilani made presiding officer Syed Muzzafar Hussain Shah, the Ministry of Law and Justice, the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, the Senate Secretariat and Senate Chairman Sanjrani as respondents.

He urged the court to declare the results of the election of the Senate chairman held on March 12 as 'null and void' along with the declaration of victory of Sanjrani as chairman.

At the heart of the controversy is the seven rejected votes which were marked in favour of Gilani but turned down by the presiding officer on the basis of a technicality.

The petition called upon the IHC to declare the rejection of the seven votes for Gilani as unlawful and thus return him as a candidate for the office of the Senate chairman.

The petition stated that the rejection of the seven votes which were 'unambiguously and unequivocally casted in the favour of the petitioner' was illegal and and unlawful. It argued that the result of the election was 'contrary to the law and the Constitution' thus it should be set aside.

Gillani served as prime minister from 2008 until his disqualification and ouster by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2012. PTI SH ZH ZH