The opposition’s no-confidence motion against Senate Chairperson Sadiq Sanjrani was presented in the Senate on Thursday. Sanjrani has retained his seat as head of the Senate.
Only 50 senators voted against Sanjrani, the opposition needed at least 53 votes to de-seat Sanjrani. Forty-five votes came in his favour and five were rejected. The reason for rejection has yet to be revealed.
Government senators began cheering and some even hugged Sanjrani and congratulated him on the win before the results were announced.
The motion was approved as 64 senators stood when asked if the motion should be passed. One hundred senators cast their votes.
The opposition wanted to bring in their own candidate for the position — National Party chief Hasil Bizenjo.
But the government, who is backing Sanjrani, wasn’t ready to see their candidate go out without a fight. Thursday’s session was chaired by Senator Mohammad Ali Saif of the MQM and began at 2pm. Saif was also the presiding officer of the election.
Mandviwala retains seat too
The PTI-led government had countered the opposition’s no-confidence motion with a motion of its own against Senate Deputy Chairperson Salim Mandviwala, who is backed by the opposition. The government has yet to announce their nominee for the position though.
Mandviwala was also able to retain his post as only seven votes were cast against him. Thirty-two votes came in his favour.
The government had appointed Nauman as its polling agent, while Javed Abbasi was the agent for the opposition.
Breaking down the Senate
There are 104 senators but only 103 will be able to cast their votes because the PML-N’s Ishaq Dar did not take oath.
There are 66 opposition members in the Senate, however, only 64 attended the Thursday’s session because two JI senators decided to abstain from the proceedings.
The government has just 36 senators but it was confident it will win because it feels that many opposition senators will “vote in line with their conscience”.
The opposition resolution has been granted leave to be voted on. During the election, all members of the Senate will cast their vote in secret. Each member will have one vote and is not allowed to carry a mobile phone or camera inside the polling booth.
The senators were informed via a message of the details of the voting procedure.
According to Rule 12(9) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate, 2012, the Senate session cannot be adjourned until the motion for leave is disposed of or, if the leave is granted, the resolution has been voted upon.
Sanjrani reportedly called JI chief Sirajul Haq Thursday morning but Haq, a senator himself, reiterated that the JI will abstain from voting. There is a political showdown going on in the Senate right now, he said, adding that fighting in the Senate will not resolve the people’s problems.
Sanjrani accidentally voted for his opponent in the election. He had to recast his vote. To watch the video of it, click here.