Islamabad: In a major setback for the joint opposition, incumbent Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani Thursday survived a no-confidence motion to oust him from the office.

Top three opposition parties namely Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) had claimed 66 votes would be cast in favour of no-trust motion as one member Ch Tanveer was reportedly hospitalised and could not make it. But the results shocked them as only 50 votes were polled in favour of the motion.

As per rules, in the 104-member upper house of the Parliament, simple majority (53 votes) was required to send the chairman packing.

Even earlier when the motion for no confidence was moved, 64 members had stood in favour of voting. However, in the secret ballot the results were quite different.

The motion against Sanjrani was filed by the joint opposition on July 9, after it reached a consensus on ousting Sanjrani from the top post in a ‘Rehbar’ Committee meeting. It named Hasil Bizenjo — another senator from Balochistan — to head the Upper House as its joint candidate.

The government senators, who are standing behind Sanjrani, in a tit-for-tat move tabled a resolution against Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Saleem Mandviwalla, who is the deputy chairman. However, it has yet to name its nominee for the post though.

Number Game:

Opposition: (67)

PML-N: 30

PPP: 21

National Party (NP): 5

Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP): 4

JUI-F: 4

Jamaat-e-Islami (JI): 2 (The party abstained from voting)

ANP: 1

Ruling alliance (36)

PTI: 14

Balochistan Awami Party (BAP): 8

Ex-FATA: 7

Muttahida Qaumi Party-Pakistna (MQM-P): 5

PML-5: 1

Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M): 1