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PTI seeks postponement of Senate chairman, deputy chairman’s poll

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has sought postponement of the polls in Senate for the post of chairman and deputy chairman saying that elections for the vacant seats from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are yet to be held after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) deferred them last week.

PTI’s Senator Saifullah Niazi, in his application filed on Monday in this regard with the Senate secretary, said the actual number of Senate members was 96, which will be completed after 11 members of the upper house are elected from KP.

The ECP had postponed the KP Senate elections last week because of non-administration of oath to MPAs-elected on reserved seats.

With regards to the elections for top posts in the Senate, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has nominated former prime minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani for the chairman Senate slot, while Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has not nominated anyone for the post of deputy chairman. The PML-N is mulling to nominate a woman lawmaker on the post and an announcement in this regard is expected shortly.

Meanwhile, PTI — the main opposition party — has not nominated its candidate for the post of chairman Senate to challenge the joint candidate of the ruling coalition.

In its application to the Senate secretary, the PTI said the secretary was custodian of the house and not the chairman and deputy chairman. “It is your duty to fulfill the responsibility. We demand from you not to begin the process of the elections on Senate’s top slots,” the party said addressing the secy.

It said the elections should not be held until Senate polls in KP were held. A unit of the federation should not be stripped of representation by depriving KP to participate in the Senate chairman and deputy chairman’s polls, it added.

The PTI said the ECP did not fulfill its constitutional responsibility by postponing the Senate elections in KP.

On the other hand, the PPP special committee members are lobbying to get their candidate for the post of Senate chairman, Yusuf Raza Gilani, elected. They have established contacts with political parties to woo them.

PPP leaders Sherry Rehman and Naveed Qamar contacted Gilani to devise strategy for the elections.

Sherry said Gilani enjoyed clear support in the Senate and the her party would establish its superiority along with the allied parties in the Senate the next day. “People and supporters of the PPP will celebrate Gilani’s victory in the election for Senate chairman tomorrow,” she said.

IHC directs PTI to approach PHC

Simultaneously, the PTI also filed a constitutional petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday challenging the elections of Senate chairman and deputy chairman, but the IHC raised objection to the plea saying that a similar matter was already subjudice before the Peshawar High Court (PHC).

The plea was filed by PTI’s five senators —Zarqa Taimur, Saifullah Niazi, Saifullah Abro, Falak Naz Chitrali, Fawzia Arshad and Humayun Mohmand — seeking to stop the elections in the upper house.

The objection was raised by the IHC Registrar Office saying that the case of KP’s Senate seats was already subjudice in the PHC, therefore, the same court should be approached.

President summons Senate session tomorrow

President Asif Ali Zardari has summoned the session of the upper house of the Parliament on Tuesday (tomorrow) for the oath of newly-elected members and the election of Senate chairman and deputy chairman amid opposition by the PTI over the election of top slots due to an “incomplete house”, The News reported Monday.

In the Senate session, newly-elected senators will take oath and an election for the constitutional post of chairman Senate and deputy chairman Senate will be held.

The presiding officer nominated by the prime minister will administer the oath to the newly-elected senators. Members elected in the by-elections of the Senate on vacant seats will also be administered the oath.

In the house of 96 members, 85 senators will take oath as the elections on 11 seats of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were postponed by the top electoral body.

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