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Pakistan: Opposition candidate elected senate chairman

Development is seen as major setback to ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawz group) months before fresh general elections

Pakistan: Opposition candidate elected senate chairman

World Bulletin / News Desk

In a major setback, Pakistan’s ruling party on Monday lost the election for the chairman of the Upper House -- the Senate -- as the joint opposition candidate convincingly clinched the office, according to the official results.

Mohammad Sadiq Sanjrani, who hails from southwestern Balochistan province, and a candidate of the joint opposition, secured 57 out of total 103 votes, whereas his rival Raja Zafar-ul-Haq of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz group) could attain 46 votes.

Sanjrani, who is the first ever chairman senate from militancy-plagued Balochistan province since independence in 1947, embodied the support of main opposition Pakistan People’s party (PPP), Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) of the former cricketing hero Imran Khan and independent senators from Balochistan, and northwestern tribal region.

Hailing from a docile Sanjrani tribe, mainly based in remote Chagai district which borders Afghanistan and Iran, the newly-elected chairman -- who has just turned 40 -- is also the youngest chairman of the upper house.

He holds a master degree in political science from Quaid-i-Azam International University Islamabad.

Live footage aired on local broadcaster Express News showed the government and the opposition supporters shouting chants and thrashing each other as soon as the presiding officer, senator Yaqoob Khan Nasir announced the results.

Meanwhile, former Finance Minister Saleem Mandviwalla, fielded by the joint opposition, has been elected as deputy chairman securing 54 votes, compared to 44 votes obtained by ruling alliance's candidate Usman Kakar. 

The result is seen as a major setback to the ruling party, which had emerged as the single largest party -- 33 seats in 104 members house -- following the by-polls results on March 3, months before the fresh general elections.

But the party required 20 more votes from its allied parties to clinch the office of the Chairman Senate, which it could not get.

All the four provinces have equal number of seats in the Upper House compared to the Lower House, where constituencies are allocated on the basis of population.

Half of the senators are elected for six years, while remaining half for the next three years.

Last Mod: 12 Mart 2018, 18:00
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