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Pakistan Senate elects Opposition-backed Chairman, Dy Chairman

ISLAMABAD: The Senate of Pakistan today elected an Opposition-backed Chairman and a deputy chairman despite the fact that ruling party-led coalition had more members than the Opposition parties.

Following the secret ballot, PPP-PTI-backed candidate Senator Sadiq Sanjrani was elected as Chairman with 57 votes as compared to the PML-N-backed Raja Zafarul Haq who secured 47 votes. Similarly Opposition’s nominated Deputy Chairman Salim Mandviwala also won the elections leaving Nawaz Sharif’s ruling party in a state of shock.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) made a last-minute U-turn when it nominated Raja Zafarul Haq instead of its earlier nomination of National Party chief Mir Hasil Bizenjo for the Senate Chairmanship.

On Sunday, the Pakistan People’s Party’s Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari announced the name of Sadiq Sanjrani for Chairmanship and Salim Mandviwala for deputy chair.

After the PML-N recommended name of outgoing Senate Chairman, Raza Rabbani’s name for top position of Senate, PPP President Asif Ali Zardari turned down the PML-N’s suggestion. After the March 3 Senate election, the PML-N emerged as the single largest party with 33 members in the Upper House of a total strength of 104.

The PML-N had the support of National Party and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party having five senators each. One member of Pakistan Muslim League-Functional and three independents from FATA. MQM’s five members and Jamaat Islami’s four members remained non-committal until last moment.

On the other hand, the PPP stood with strength of 22; however, it drew the votes from allied parties including that of 12 members from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, four MQM and independents, in order to retain the House for another three-year terms.

Later in the evening both Senate Chairman and Deputy Chairman took oath before the Upper House of Parliament adjourned.

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