Pakistan’s Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh was defeated in the crucial Senate elections on Wednesday by former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. The result is seen as a major setback for Prime Minister Imran Khan as he personally campaigned for his cabinet colleague. The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party (PTI) claimed that it had the support of 182 members, while 172 votes were needed to elect the senator.
The Pakistan Election Commission (ECP) announced that “Yusuf Raza Gilani got 169 votes while Sheikh got 164 votes. Seven votes were rejected. The total number of votes was 340. “Prime Minister Khan personally campaigned to ensure Sheikh’s victory.” The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), a coalition of eleven opposition parties, supported Gilani. Apart from this, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and Pakistan Peoples Party also supported Geelani.
Interestingly, Sheikh was a minister in his cabinet during the tenure of former Prime Minister Gilani from 2008 to 2012. Government spokesman Shahbaz Gill said that the opposition won by a margin of only five votes while seven votes were rejected.
In the same house, Fojia Arshad of the ruling party got 174 votes and defeated PDM-nominated candidate Farzana Kausar who got 161 votes. Five votes were rejected. Members of the Senate, the upper house of parliament, are elected for a term of six years. Voting was held for 37 seats. Voting began at 9 am and lasted till 5 pm. As soon as the voting was over, the results started coming.
At the same time, Gurdeep Singh of the ruling Pakistan-Tehreek-Insaaf party won from Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in the Senate elections of Pakistan. He has become the first turbaned Sikh representative from this province. Singh defeated his rival candidate in the minority seat in the election to the upper house of Parliament by a large margin.
Singh got 103 votes out of 145 in the House while Jamiat Ulema-e Islam (Fazlur) candidate Ranjit Singh secured just 25 votes and Asif Bhatti of Awami National Party secured 12.