ISLAMABAD: Amid the controversial election of the Senate chairman, a video of the Secretary of Senate Qasim Samad has surfaced in which he clearly guides Senators that the stamp can be placed anywhere in the box with the name of the candidate.
Senator Saeed Ghani of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) seconded the video evidence, saying, “we specifically asked the secretary [of Senate] that oft times senators place the stamp on different places, sometimes on the name of the candidate, is this valid? He responded that the stamp can be placed anywhere as long as it is in the box with the candidate’s name in it.”
The technical issue has taken centre stage after the Senate Chairman elections, which came as a blow to the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) as it lost both presiding offices of the upper house to the government even after securing a thin majority in the Senate. 7 votes were rejected by the Presiding Officer on founds that the stamp had been placed on the name of the candidate rather than in front of it.
Farooq H. Naek, the polling agent of Yousaf Raza Gilani, contended that the instructions within the polling booth, as well as the instructions issued by the Senate Secretariat, did not have any such specifications. However, his argument was over ruled and Sanjrani was declared the winner. Later, the opposition parties announced to pursue the issue of the rejected votes in the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
During such controversy, a clear video evidence showing the Secretary of Senate guiding Senators that the stamp can be placed anywhere not only makes the election of Sanjrani even more controversial, opening room for conspiracy theories, but also allows the opposition to have a stronger case in court.