ISLAMABAD: Veteran politician Senator Raza Rabbani of Pakistan Peoples Party was elected unopposed as Senate Chairman and Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri of Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl as Deputy Chairman with a majority vote.
Haideri voted out Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf candidate Shibli Faraz with a thumping majority as he secured 74 votes against 16 of Syed Shibli Faraz out of total 90 valid votes.
Two other candidates Jehanzeb Jamaldini and Hafiz Hamdullah had withdrawn their candidature before the voting started for the office of Deputy Chairman.
Total 96 votes in a House of 100 members were cast out of which six votes were declared invalid.
Consensus on Raza Rabbani was evolved a few days back when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other important political leaders like Asfandyar Wali, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Altaf Hussain, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain had agreed to his nomination for the top office by PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari. However, they could not reach a consensus for the office of the Deputy Chairman.
The day started with oath taking by newly elected Senators.
They were administered oath by Presiding Officer Ishaq Dar, who was nominated to chair the special session. The members then signed the roll of members and the session was adjourned till 1500 hours to proceed further for the election of Chairman and Deputy Chairman.
As many as 48 Senators took oath in the first sitting taking the number to 100 as election on four FATA seats is pending.
As Mr Rabbani was already unanimously agreed for the office of the Chairman, four candidates had filed nomination papers for the office of Deputy Chairman with JUI-F Senator Abdul Ghafoor Haideri and Hafiz Hamdullah, PTI candidate Shibli Faraz and Balochistan National Party-Mengal candidate Jehanzeb Jamaldini. The nomination papers were filed till 1215 while the scrutiny was carried out at 1330. Papers of all the four candidates were found in order in the scrutiny process.
When the session started in the afternoon, Mr Rabbani took oath as 7th Chairman of the Senate and immediately he proceeded to the President House to fulfill his constitutional obligation to be Acting President in absence of President Mamnoon Hussain who had gone abroad.
The proceedings, however, continued with Presiding Officer Ishaq Dar who was nominated by the Chairman.
Dar explained the procedure for the election and started voting with Abdul Ghafoor Haideri casting the first vote.
On the conclusion of voting process, the result was announced and after declaring Maulana Ghafoor Haideri as winner, the Presiding Officer administered the oath to the newly elected Deputy Chairman.
Later, Abdul Ghafoor Haideri took the seat as Acting Chairman as Raza Rabbani had become Acting President.
Speaking on this occasion, both the newly elected Chairman and Deputy Chairman reiterated the commitment to keep struggling for the supremacy of the Parliament and the Constitution, and strengthening democracy in the country.
They thanked the members for reposing confidence in them and assured to perform their duties with impartiality and rising above the party affiliations and reinforce the role of the Parliament in coping with challenges facing the country and the nation.
The newly elected members in their comments to the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman also reiterated to stand united to steer the country out of the problems like unemployment, poverty, terrorism and put it on strong economic footing.
The members also congratulated both the leaders and hoped they would run the House with prudence, objectivity and impartiality and as per rules and constitutional norms.
Later, the Acting Chairman read out the prorogation order.