Video Leak : PPP trying to buy PTI MNAs for Senate polls

A viral video of Yusuf Raza Gilani’s son, seeking the support of PTI MNAs and telling them how to get votes rejected, to ensure the success of his father, caused a furore hours before the crucial Senate polls on March 3.

Leak video of Yousaf Raza Gillani son buying candidates for Senate Elections 2021

The video purportedly of Ali Haider Gilani, son of a joint opposition’s candidate for the much-hyped Senate polls, Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, went viral Tuesday in which he could be heard telling the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) members how to get their votes rejected, or to write specific numbers for identification of the voters at a later stage.

Former prime minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan Peoples Party candidate for a Senate seat from Islamabad has been fielded jointly by the opposition alliance under the banner of Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDM) against Abdul Hafeez Sheikh of the government.

The “leaked video” that was aired by several news channels, showed a few people – PTI members of the National Assembly (MNAs), reportedly from Karachi, being asked to vote for the opposition candidate. Ali Haider Gilani asks them to get their votes rejected in the worst case.

In the video, he is heard telling them to fold their ballot paper like a kite if the Election Commission of Pakistan does not put any number on the ballot paper. [The video is reportedly a week old.]

However, if the ballot paper is without any numbers or identifiers, then the PTI members need to write numbers 60, 23, 7, 11 so that these can be later identified for the payments. He specifically gives them the numbers and also writes them down for his record.

The faces of the people with whom Ali Gilani is talking cannot be seen. However, one of the persons says that they have the support of four. It was not clear who made the video, and how it got leaked.

However, according to Arshad Sharif, a senior journalist for the ARY News Channel who broke the news, said the money was being offered to four PTI MNAs. He also aired allegedly a telephonic conversation of Nasir Hussain Shah, the PPP Minister in the Sindh Government in which Gilani can be heard saying that the deal was okayed by Asif Ali Zardari himself.

However, Nasir Hussain Shah later denied that it was his voice in the ARY’s programme “Power Play” and said he had not talked to Ali Gilani.

Ali Gilani earlier in a press conference at Multan said being a politician he met many people and he would meet them again. He said it was his right to ask for a vote and it was up to them to vote according to their conscience. The PTI later termed it to be a confession on part of Ali Gilani for trying to bribe its MNAs.

The leakage of video just a day ahead of the crucial Senate polls triggered a strong reaction from not only the PTI workers and party leaders, but also the general public, who cried foul.

Strong support for the open ballot, a cause pursued by Prime Minister Imran Khan, emerged, as the people took to the social media platforms to reject the traditional horse-trading seen in the past for the Senate elections.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan, in its judgment a day earlier, said the process should be secret, as provided in the Constitution of Pakistan, however, asked the Election Commission of Pakistan to ensure that measures were taken to ensure transparency in the voting.

The Election Commission, however, after a series of deliberations said owing to the paucity of time it could not take any new measures and the voting would be done “as per the past practice”.

Following the furore after the video leak, a spokesperson of the Election Commission of Pakistan, in a statement, said it would initiate “an investigation on merit” of the viral video.

Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, in a tweet, said the Election Commission of Pakistan had taken note of the video and termed it a welcome step. He said the PTI would also file a reference against the disqualification of the joint PDM candidate Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani.

Later two PTI MNAs Kanwal Shauzab and Farrukh Habib talked to the media outside the Election Commission of Pakistan and submitted their reference to disqualify Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani from the Senate elections.
They said the PPP candidate violated the law and the Constitution of Pakistan, and involved in criminal activity in corroboration with his real son. For violating Sections 167, 168, 169, and 170 of the Election Act 2017, they sought his punishment under Section 174.

Ali Haider Gilani, in a tweet, said it was in fact he who was approached by different MNAs on several occasions, “as they are not happy with the candidate selection of PTI and it’s their right to vote against their party candidate if they will. It’s a pertinent question as to if this is the Govt’s last shot at saving face!,” he claimed.

The Senate polls will be hotly contested for two seats in Islamabad, 11 each in Punjab and Sindh, and 12 each in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. Due to an unopposed election on 11 seats in Punjab, there will be no polls in the province.

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