Senate chairman’s reply sought to plea against no-trust vote

Updated 16 Jul 2020

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A bench consisting of Justice Ikramullah Khan and Justice Ijaz Anwar asked Senate chairman Sadiq Sanjarani to submit the response to the petition within a fortnight. — PPI/File
A bench consisting of Justice Ikramullah Khan and Justice Ijaz Anwar asked Senate chairman Sadiq Sanjarani to submit the response to the petition within a fortnight. — PPI/File

PESHAWAR: Issuing a fresh notice, the Peshawar High Court on Wednesday directed the Senate chairman to respond to a petition against the last year’s voting on the resolutions of no-confidence against him and vice-chairman.

A bench consisting of Justice Ikramullah Khan and Justice Ijaz Anwar asked Senate chairman Sadiq Sanjarani to submit the response to the petition within a fortnight.

Last month, the bench had held preliminary hearing into the petition filed by freelance journalist Shahid Orakzai and asked the Senate chairman to respond to it. However, the response is awaited.

The petitioner claimed that the role of presiding officer Senator Mohammad Ali Saif during voting on those resolutions was partisan.

He said the Constitution declared that to ensure complete neutrality, the person presiding a house should not vote except in case of equality of votes.

Petitioner challenges polling on no-confidence resolutions against Sanjarani, deputy

The petitioner said such situation didn’t emerge on Aug 1, 2019, when the polling on the resolutions took place but the presiding officer cast vote like other lawmakers.

Deputy attorney general Asghar Khan Kundi informed the bench that he had been representing the country’s president only as the other respondents, including Sadiq Sanjarani, deputy chairman Saleem Mandviwala and Mohammad Ali Saif, were included in the petition in private capacity.

Shahid Orakzai said presiding officer Mohammad Ali Saif had betrayed neutrality emphasised by Article 55 of the Constitution.

He requested the court to order fresh voting in the Senate on the resolutions of no-confidence against its chairman and deputy chairman.

The petitioner also requested to disqualify Mohammad Ali Saif for the membership of Senate as he was not sadiq and amen in terms of Article 63(1)(F) of the Constitution.

Mr Orakzai said in a sharp violation of Article 55 of the Constitution, Senator Mohammad Ali Saif polled two votes on the resolutions against the chairman and deputy chairman.

He said Senator Saif had escorted Sadiq Sanjarani to the Prime Minister’s Secretariat for a meeting with the premier a day after the polling.

The petitioner also produced a photograph of that meeting.

He said on the resolution of no-confidence against the Senate chairman, 14 of the senators had voted in favour of Chairman Sadiq Sanjarani contrary to their respective parties policy but none of those political parties had so far initiated any action against those senators under Article 63-A of the Constitution dealing with the defection of a member.

The petitioner also requested the court to suspend the membership of Senator Saif forthwith and stop him from attending the Senate’s proceedings.

He asked if the president could nominate any partisan person to act as the presiding officer for any business under Clause (4) of Article 53 of the Constitution and if the presiding officer could participate in the voting on a resolution of no-confidence against the Senate chairman.

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2020