Islamabad (Staff Report/Agencies): Voting for the chairman and deputy chairman of the Senate is underway.
Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaf's (PTI) Sadiq Sanjrani and Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) Yousaf Raza Gillani are in the race for the slot of chairman Senate while PTI's Mirza Muhammad Afridi and PDM's Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri are contesting for the office of deputy chairman.
President Dr Arif Alvi had summoned session of the Upper House at 10AM at the Parliament House and nominated Senator Sayed Muzafar Hussain Shah as the presiding officer.
The election process is being conducted through secret ballot.
Announcing the schedule of the election of Chairman and Deputy Chairman Senate, the presiding officer said that the candidates can file their nomination papers in the office of Secretary Senate by 12.00pm. Scrutiny of the papers will be held at 12:30pm. The candidates can withdraw their nomination papers any time before the election.
On the same day, result of the election for the slot of Chairman Senate will be announced and the successful candidate will take oath of his office and preside over the remaining session.
The strength of the House has been reduced to 100 after the Senate elections on March 3.
However, it now consists of 99 senators, as Ishaq Dar is in self-exile and has not taken oath as a senator.
The senators of the ruling coalition include 27 members of the PTI, 12 of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), three of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), three independents and one each of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-i-Azam (PML-Q) and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA).
The opposition senators include 21 of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), 17 of (PML-N), excluding Ishaq Dar who has not taken oath of the office, five of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), two each of Awami National Party (ANP), Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M), Pashtunkhwa Mili Awami Party (PKMAP) and National Party (NP) and one of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI).
The opposition collectively has 52 members in the House excluding Mr Dar, against 47 senators belonging to the ruling coalition.
Earlier, all the 48 newly-elected Senators took oath at the specially convened Senate session at the parliament house in Islamabad.
Senator Sayed Muzafar Hussain Shah administered the oath to the members-elect shortly after the session started.