Opposition protests spy cameras, microphones in Senate polling booths

PTI, opp indulge in blame game over installation of spy cameras 

By: News Desk
Published: 10:25 AM, 12 Mar, 2021
Opposition protests spy cameras, microphones in Senate polling booths
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The Opposition lawmakers on Friday staged a protest in the Senate after they discovered spy cameras installed in the polling booths, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

The Opposition Senators, who were about to elect the chairman and deputy chairman, stood up on their seats in the House just before the start of the session and voiced their concerns.

PPP’s Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and PML-N’s Musaddiq Malik spotted the cameras in the polling booths right over the tables where the Senators have to stamp their votes during elections of chairman and deputy chairman.

Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar took a picture of the spy camera and posted it on Twitter.

He said he and Mr Musaddiq themselves saw the secret camera.

Senior PPP leader Sherry Rehman said a spy camera over the polling booth and a microphone have been found in the polling booth erected for Senate elections.

In a tweet, Sherry Rehman said “This is a shocking criminal violation of the elections laws of Pakistan.”

The lawmakers from the Opposition and government sides also exchanged harsh words over the issue.

PPP's Raza Rabbani was furious over the discovery of the spy cameras. "Under what law you have installed these cameras. It violates Supreme Court's orders."

The Opposition's lawmakers raised the slogans of 'shame shame' against the government.

In the meanwhile, Presiding Officer Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah, appointed by the President of Pakistan to preside over the Senate session, administered the oath to the 48 newly-elected senators.

Later, the presiding officer ordered the Senate staff to erect new polling booths as the voting to elect new Senate Chairman and his deoputy will take place at 3:00pm.

PPP's Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar demanded PTI candidate for the seat of Senate chairman Sadiq Sanjrani to withdraw his candidature following the detection of spy cameras inside the polling booths. 

Talking to the media, Senator Musadik Malik sarcastically there was no fog in Islamabad but cameras. “Articles 62 and 63 of the constitution apply to this act,” he said and demanded the Supreme Court (SC) and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to take notice.  

Senator Musadik said the detection of spy cameras inside pooling booths showed what type of Senate elections Prime Minister Imran Khan wanted. 

He said nobody knew how many cameras had been installed, and who had ordered their installation. “We are going to see the repeat of by-election in NA-75, Daska,” he expressed the apprehension.

Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, on the occasion, said revealing vote secrecy was a crime under the Election Act. “The government had planned to rig the elections, and it should be probed as to on whose orders secretary Senate had installed these cameras,” Khokhar demanded.  

He further said that Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leaders would decide after consultations whether the Senate committee would investigate or the matter should be referred to the police. 

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz has accused the opposition of installing cameras inside the polling booths. He said that the government had exposed the opposition’s foul play.

He expressed the hope that PTI candidates would win the elections for the seats of Senate chairman and deputy chairman today (Friday).  

The minister said PPP and PML-N, and not PTI, had mastered the art of rigging the elections. 

Shibli further said that it was in everybody’s knowledge which parties had been bribing the Senators for the past few days to purchase their votes. 

He reminded that it was PTI’s demand that elections should be held through the show of hands so that transparency could be ensured. “Using money and blackmailing to change loyalties of legislators is opposition parties’ hallmark,” he remarked. 

Senator Faisal Javed, on the occasion, said that the installation of cameras was the opposition parties’ conspiracy. “These parties only want NRO,” he claimed.   

Gohar Masood reported this story.