Pak ECP issues notification of Gilani as Senator; rejects ruling PTI’s plea challenging his win

Islamabad, Mar 10 (PTI) Pakistan’s election commission on Wednesday issued the notification of former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani’s election as a Senator, rejecting a petition filed by the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party challenging his win in the recently-held Senate polls.

Along with Gilani, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) also issued a notification for 48 new Senators who were elected to the Senate on March 3.

The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party of Prime Minister Imran Khan had challenged in the ECP the victory of Gilani, who contested the polls as the candidate of Pakistan Democratic Movement- an alliance of 11 Opposition parties, as a Senator on the basis of alleged fraud, urging it not to issue notification of his election.

Gilani defeated PTI candidate and Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh by securing 169 votes. Shaikh, whose loss has been a big blow to Prime Minister Khan as he had personally campaigned for his Cabinet colleague, got 164 votes.

A four-member commission of the ECP, headed by Altaf Ibrahim Qureshi, heard the petition.

Rejecting the petition, the ECP issued a notification of Gilani along with 48 new Senators who were elected on March 3.

However, the top electoral body accepted for hearing a petition by the PTI seeking disqualification of Gilani on allegations of vote buying.

It decided to issue notices to Gilani’s son Ali Haider in connection with a video scandal and also directed that the names of two PTI lawmakers – Jamil Ahmed and Fahim Khan – who appeared in the video should be included as respondents.

On March 2, a day before the Senate elections, a video surfaced showing Ali Haider telling the two PTI members about how to waste votes.

The ECP’s decision came hours after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) rejected a petition by PTI challenging Gilani’s upset win in the Senate elections, ruling that it was not appropriate to “unnecessarily drag” the judiciary in political matters.

The IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah after hearing initial arguments directed the petitioner to use the platform of ECP where already the case was under-hearing.

The court during today’s proceedings also rejected a plea to disqualify Ali Haider Gilani who is a provincial lawmaker. The petitioner accused him of vote buying for his father.

Gilani is the joint candidate of the Opposition parties for election of the Senate chairman which is scheduled to be held on March 12.