In a shock victory for the government and its allied parties, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani today survived a motion of no-confidence pushed by the opposition.
Mere hours before the final result, the resolution to move a no-confidence vote against Sanjrani had been passed comfortably by opposition senators, with 64 voting in its favour.
Needing only 53 of the 64 senators’ votes to send Sanjrani packing, the opposition instead fell three short when the results of the secret ballot were announced.
The final vote count was 50 votes in favour of the motion, five votes rejected, and 45 cast against.
Having fallen short of a simple majority of the house, the motion was dismissed.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan promptly hailed the result as “the victory of Pakistan’s narrative”.
A no-confidence vote against Senate Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwala also failed.
This is the first time the upper house of parliament has tabled no-confidence motions against its chairman and deputy chairman. The motion against Sanjrani was submitted by opposition members last month. A similar motion was submitted by the government senators against Senate Deputy Chairman Mandviwala in a tit-for-tat move.
The opposition has a total of 67 members. PML-N’s Chaudhry Tanvir, who has reportedly fallen ill, was not in attendance. Out of the remaining 66 senators, two belong to the Jamaat-i-Islami, which decided to abstain from the proceedings.
The government and its allies constituted the remaining 36 members, all of whom were present today.
Senator Javed Abbasi was appointed the polling agent on behalf of the opposition, while Senator Nauman Wazir was appointed on behalf of the government.
At the beginning of the session, Barrister Saif directed senators who were in favour of the no-confidence resolution against Sanjrani tabled by the opposition to stand. About 64 senators had stood up in support.
Opposition Leader in the Senate Raja Zafarul Haq had then moved the resolution but said that the opposition will not make any speeches even though the rules allow a debate.
PTI Senator Shibli Faraz had also waived his right to make a speech, saying that the government wishes for the motion to be put directly to the vote.
Following these announcements, Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif — who was chairing today’s session — read out the rules for voting on the resolution. He said that the doors of the hall will remain closed as long as voting is underway.
The results of the final count of the vote, conducted through a secret ballot, dealt a major blow to the opposition’s claims of having enough support.