PML-N, analysts react to back-to-back losses for the ruling party in the race for Senate chairman, deputy chairman.
In a historic first, a candidate from Balochistan was elected as the leader of the parliament's upper house on Monday.
Sadiq Sanjrani — an independent senator pitched by the opposition as their joint candidate — was elected the Senate chairman after beating PML-N's Raja Zafarul Haq with a greater-than-expected vote margin of 11 votes.
The opposition's second coup of the day came in the form of PPP Senator Saleem Mandviwalla's election as the deputy chairman. Mandviwalla emerged victorious as he defeated PML-N-backed Usman Khan Kakar of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party.
Here's how PML-N leaders and analysts reacted to the back-to-back losses for the ruling party.
State Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb while talking to reporters said that the "horrific face of those who used to chant slogans of change" was exposed after today's Senate chairman's election.
The people who were foes yesterday were seen congratulating each other today, she said without taking any names, and added: "Those who were dancing to the tunes of the 'umpire' in 2014 once again danced on the same tunes [today]."
She alleged that the Senate elections were manipulated and held "anti-democratic forces" responsible for this. "Votes were purchased and people were pushed to join hands [to defeat the PML-N candidates]," she claimed.
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"Whoever has done this [sold their vote] has sold the democracy and their conscience."
Lashing out at the PPP, Aurangzeb said, "Bhutto has been martyred today."
Minister of State for Interior Tallal Chaudhry, meanwhile, termed the polls "an appointment, not an election". He said the result of 2018 general elections will be the actual decider as the upcoming general elections "will not be held in drawing rooms like the Senate election but among the masses".
He said even if some PML-N-backed senators voted for other parties, Nawaz Sharif's ideology will win at the end of the day.
Journalist Talat Hussain while talking to Geo News said this was a moment of introspection for the ruling PML-N.
He said the party was depending on its allies, whose voters might have changed their minds.
"The Senate has been captured and this election has indicted the rising trend of manipulation," he said.
Senior journalist Mazhar Abbas described today's losses of the ruling party in two words: "Mission accomplished."
He said the alleged "mission" was commenced from Balochistan, where several PML-N lawmakers had turned dissidents earlier this year and forced the party's chief minister to resign, and concluded in the Senate today.
The defection is within the PML-N, which failed to realise the situation in Balochistan, Abbas said. He also questioned why the party's acting president Shahbaz Sharif was nowhere to be seen in the entire Senate elections campaign
PML-N leader and ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif's daughter Maryam Nawaz took to Twitter to claim that the opposition should actually see their victory as a defeat.
"You pawns of chess!" she wrote, without specifying, "You have not won, you have suffered the worst defeat. Come face the public a little."
She turned her guns towards PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PTI Chairman Imran Khan, writing this verse: "Zardari and the merchant of the umpire's finger... all became one when they reached your court."
Senator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, president of the PML-N-allied National Party, gave a passionate speech on the Senate floor after the elections concluded, saying: "It has been practically proven today that hegemonic forces are more supreme than the parliament."
In a reference to undemocratic forces, he said today's election was a victory for the hegemonic classes and not any leader of the PPP.
He said the parliament has lost today, but it would have won had Raza Rabbani been elected Senate chairman.
"I am ashamed to be sitting here in this House," he said.
Bizenjo urged the institutions and political parties to let the country follow its democratic course, warning that if things remained the same the federation will see the "worst days of its history".