Muzaffar Hussain Shah dismisses Opposition’s criticism over Senate chairman election

Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah presided over the election yesterday for the Senate chairman’s position. — A still taken from a YouTube  video

Pakistan Muslim League-Functional’s Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah, who served as the presiding officer in the election for Senate chairman, on Saturday dismissed the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) criticism over him rejecting seven votes cast in the Opposition candidate’s favour.

During the Senate chairman polling yesterday, the PML-F leader had rejected seven votes saying they were marked incorrectly as the lawmakers had put the stamp directly onto Yousaf Raza Gillani’s name rather than in the empty space next to it.

Shah’s decision had caused a furore on the Opposition benches, as the government candidate, Sadiq Sanjrani, received 48 votes against Gillani’s 42 in the final count. The 7 contested votes, if allotted according to the Opposition’s wishes, would have put Gillani over the finishing line and given the Opposition the chairman’s seat.

“Seven people from the PDM deliberately wasted their votes,” Shah said today, after the Opposition repeatedly attacked him in their press conferences and questioned his impartiality.

“The stamp was placed on all seven ballot papers in exactly the same way,” Shah said. “Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Sadruddin Shah Rashidi’s votes in Sindh had previously been rejected on the same grounds.”

“These seven votes have been stolen from the Opposition’s own house,” Shah insisted. “The Opposition should investigate and find out which of its members are responsible for the theft.”

“It is pointless blaming me,” Shah said. “I took my decision after listening to the Opposition in detail.

Shah also suggested that the Opposition would have no luck approaching the courts with their grievances.

“Parliamentary proceedings cannot be challenged in courts,” Shah said, referring to laws that protect the business of the two houses of parliament. 

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