30 Senators supported his nomination
PPP’s Yousaf Raza Gillani is the new Senate opposition leader.
The Senate Secretariat has issued a notification confirming his new appointment. “The Chairman Senate has been pleased to declare Senator Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani, as leader of the opposition in the Senate, with effect from 26th March, 2021,” it said.
The notification was received by Senator Qayyum Soomro.
“I won the Senate chairman election in the eyes of the people,” Gillani remarked while speaking to the media in Islamabad. He said that he received 49 votes, while the other candidate received 48 votes. “The ECP will hear that case but I am happy that people have considered me for the opposition leader post.”
Earlier in the day, the PPP had informed the secretariat that Gillani had secured the support of 30 senators for his nomination. Senate Sherry Rehman said the number includes PPP’s 21 senators, 2 from Awami National Party, one from Jamaat-e-Islami, two FATA members, and four senators from the independent group created by Senator Dilawar Khan.
Gillani clarified that a senior office bearer of the PDM claimed that members of the Balochistan Awami Party, an ally of the PTI, voted for him. “This is not true. Senators who voted for me include FATA members and independent members.” It is unfair to say that this is a government-backed opposition. He said that Dilawar Khan used to be affiliated with the PML-N.
Former PM Gillani had won the Senate seat after defeating PTI’s Hafeez Shaikh during the March 3 Senate elections. He even contested for the post of Senate chairman but lost to Sadiq Sanjrani after seven votes cast in his favour were rejected.
Reacting to the news, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed said that the divide between PML-N and PPP has become very clear. “The PPP has shown that it doesn’t even need the support of JUI-F.”
The central executive committee of the PPP kept PDM’s resignation demand in front of party members. We consulted our legal experts and they advised us against it, Gillani said. “We took those suggestions to the PDM and the idea was to postpone the Senate elections. We reasoned that the Senate elections will be held at all costs,” he remarked. This is why the PDM agreed to our suggestion.
He said that former PM Benazir Bhutto regretted boycotting the assembly and ever since the party decided to not boycott proceedings of the National Assembly. “We believe that the voice of Parliament is the voice of people of Pakistan and we shouldn’t ignore it.”
Gillani said that PDM is still intact and will remain so in the future. “I will meet the PDM leaders and ensure justice is served.”