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Pakistan Senate election: Row over ‘spy cameras’ in polling booth

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image captionKhan supporters celebrated outside parliament

An election in Pakistan’s Senate was briefly disrupted after opposition politicians said they had found “spy cameras” hidden in a voting booth.

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and the opposition coalition traded blame with each other over the cameras.

Senators were electing a chairman for the upper house, in a hotly contested vote marred by controversy.

The government’s preferred candidate, Sadiq Sanjrani, was re-elected.

The election was widely seen as a test of Prime Minister Khan’s leadership.

In the chamber, senators chanted “shame” as opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani said the cameras were “against the constitution” and demanded an investigation.

Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, also with the PPP, posted photos on Twitter of the cameras he said he had found, saying they were “right over the polling booth”.

Science and Technology Minister Fawad Hussain said the cameras were just part of the building’s CCTV security, but Information Minister Shibli Faraz pointed the finger at the opposition, saying they were part of a “sinister” plan.

This is one example of Spy Camera the camera can be fitted in a head of nail even,detection of such cameras is impossible, in all likelihood CCTV Camera cable is misunderstood as spy camera

— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) March 12, 2021

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

According to Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper, the booth was removed, and voting continued after a new one was installed.

How heated was the election?

Mr Sanjrani won another term as the Senate chairman, beating former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, of the opposition PDM (Pakistan Democratic Movement) party.

Billionaire Mirza Moha­m­mad Afridi was elected deputy chairman.

Both men are supported by the PTI.

The opposition now has a slim majority in the upper house but backroom political wheeling and dealing is common, the BBC’s Secunder Kermani reports.

This Senate election has been particularly divisive.

Last week, the PTI accused the opposition of bribing some government parliamentarians into voting against Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh and unseating him. The opposition denied the allegation.

In response to the shock loss, Imran Khan held a confidence vote in parliament, and vowed to stand down if he lost.

Opposition politicians refused to take part, saying he would win regardless. In the end the prime minister received votes from just over half of the parliament.

Pakistan holds Senate elections every three years for half of the members. Senators are elected for six years, while the chairperson and deputy each have three-year terms.

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