Former Prime Minister Gilani elected Pakistan senate chairman amid PTI boycott

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ISLAMABAD: Former PM and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Yusuf Raza Gilani has been elected as chairman of the senate, the upper house of parliament, on Tuesday after Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) boycotted the elections for the top position.
Gilani’s ascend to the coveted position was expected after his party signed a power-sharing deal with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), whereby they traded political positions.Under this arrangement, PPP kept the governorships in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa as well as the prestigious positions of president, senate’s chairman and deputy speaker of National Assembly, which is Pakistan’s parliament.
In return, PML-N kept the governorships of Sindh and Balochistan, as well as the positions of PM, speaker of National Assembly, and deputy chairman of the senate. With PTI’s boycott, Gilani, the joint candidate of the governing coalition, found himself with a clear path to the senate spot. PML-N’s Syedal Khan Nasir was elected unopposed as deputy chairman of the senate.
The two were elected during a session that also saw 41 newly elected senators being sworn in as members of the senate amid noisy protests by PTI lawmakers.
PTI boycotted the elections, alleging that the house was incomplete as senate polls had been postponed in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa after the newly elected lawmakers for reserved seats were not allowed by the provincial assembly’s speaker to take oath.
In the house of 96 members, 85 senators have so far been elected as EC of Pakistan had postponed elections on 11 seats of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa due to non-administration of oaths to representatives of reserved seats.
PM Shehbaz Sharif termed the elections a “continuation of the democratic process”. “The role of the senate is highly important for the strengthening of the federal units and the observance of democratic values,” Sharif tweeted.

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