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Opposition-backed Sanjrani, Mandviwalla take top Senate posts

Sanjrani secured 57 votes out of the total 103 cast for the Senate chairman slot

ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Monday elected opposition-backed candidates Sadiq Sanjrani as chairman and Saleem Mandviwalla as deputy chairman of the upper house of Pakistan’s parliament, ARY News reported.

Sanjrani secured 57 votes, while PML-N backed Raja Zafarul Haq secured 46 out of the total 103 cast for the seat of the Senate chairman.

Sanjrani, an independent senator, was backed by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P).

Sanjrani was sworn in as custodian of the house soon after the election. Presiding Officer Sardar Yaqoob Khan Nasar administered the oath.

In another blow to the ruling PML-N and its allies, PPP’s Saleem Mandviwalla was elected as the deputy chairman and was sworn in by Senate Chairman Sadiq Sajrani.

Mandviwalla was contesting against government-backed Usman Khan Kakar from PkMAP and secured 54 votes.

Ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had announced to field senator Raja Zafarul Haq as candidate for Senate chairman, while Usman Kakar for the deputy chairman seat while opposition parties and their allies backed Sanjrani and Mandviwalla for the posts.

Opposition parties, allies congratulate Sanjrani, Mandviwalla

Opposition parties welcomed the election of both Sanjrani and Mandviwalla while the ruling PML-N termed their election “a victory of undemocratic forces”.

“Zia’s opening batsman defeated. Balochistan wins. Federalism wins. Congratulations Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani,” PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari wrote on Twitter.

PTI chief Imran Khan too congratulated Sanjirani and said that his election as Senate chairman will strengthen the federation.

“We are happy for the people of Balochistan & for the federation of Pakistan,” said Imran Khan.

Senate chairman is the custodian of the upper house and remains politically impartial at the time of discharging his duties. The chairman represents both the opposition and treasury benches. In absence of the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Senate chairman acts as the President.

Swearing-in of Senators

In the session today, 51 newly elected senators also took oath to secure their respective seats of the upper house after which the session had adjourned.

The oath-taking ceremony was administered by presiding officer Senator Yaqoob Nasir.

Following the adjournment of the session, nomination papers for the Senate chairman and deputy Chairman were submitted at the house of 104-members.

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