Islamabad, Mar 12 (PTI) Pakistan government-backed candidate Sadiq Sanjrani on Friday won another term as chairman of the Senate, the Upper House of Parliament, in a relief to Prime Minister Imran Khan and the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.
Sanjrani, the incumbent Senate chairman who was backed by Prime Minister Khan's alliance, defeated joint Opposition's candidate and former prime minister of Pakistan Yousuf Raza Gilani.
Sanjrani polled 48 votes while Gilani got 42 votes 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.
The Opposition challenged the result of the election after it was announced that seven votes cast in favour of opposition candidate Gilani were rejected, the Dawn newspaper reported.
However, presiding officer Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah overruled their objection, saying the seven votes were rejected because they were not stamped correctly. One of the votes was rejected because it had been cast in favour of both the candidates, it said.
Gilani and Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri (JUI-F) were fielded by the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) as its joint candidates for the posts of chairman and deputy chairman, respectively.
The government had already announced that outgoing Senate chairman Sanjrani will be its candidate for the office for another term. On Thursday, Prime Minister Khan nominated Senator Mirza Mohammad Afridi for the post of deputy chairman.
Gillani served as prime minister from 2008 until his disqualification and ouster by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2012.
Earlier, the Senate elections got off to a noisy start on Friday with the Opposition claiming that spy cameras were installed in the polling booths set for senators to cast their votes for the chairman and deputy chairman of the upper house of Parliament. PTI MRJ AKJ MRJ