Pakistan’s Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh was trounced by former premier Yusuf Raza Gilani in the crucial Senate elections on Wednesday, in a major setback for Prime Minister Imran Khan who had personally campaigned for his Cabinet colleague. The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party (PTI) had claimed that it enjoyed support of 182 members while 172 votes were needed to elect the senator.
“Yusuf Raza Gilani got 169 votes while Shaikh got 164 votes. Seven votes were rejected. Total number of polled votes was 340,” the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced.
Prime Minister Khan had personally made efforts for Shaikh’s victory in the hotly contested election. Gilani was supported by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance of 11 opposition parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and the Pakistan Peoples Party. Interestingly, Shaikh was a minister in the cabinet of former prime minister Gilani during his tenure from 2008 to 2012.
In another twist, Fozia Arshad of the ruling party got 174 votes in the same house and defeated PDM-supported candidate Farzana Kausar who received 161 votes. Five votes were rejected in their case.
Shehbaz Gill, a government spokesman, said that the Opposition won by a margin of five votes while seven votes were rejected. He announced to “challenge the elections”.
Addressing the media along with Gilani after the victory, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari asked Prime Minister Khan to step down as the defeat of his candidate showed that he has lost confidence in the National Assembly.
“Imran Khan should resign, this is not only the Opposition’s demand but of the government’s own members,” Bilawal said, adding that “a new era was starting in Pakistan’s democratic journey”.
News Source: India Tv News