Enraged leadership of opposition parties on Thursday accused the government of horse trading and announced that they would hold an all parties' conference to "expose the hidden forces" behind their members' last-minute switch of loyalties and defection.
Speaking at a joint presser along with Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Mir Hasil Bizenjo and others, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif said that they would not only probe against the members of their respective parties who switched their loyalties but would also expose those who are behind this defeat. He questioned how the opposition lost a secret ballot after demonstrating that it had the support of 64 members in 104-member House. Before the start of a vote on no- confidence motion, 64 opposition senators backed the resolution to remove Sanjrani, he added.
"Today, conscience has been sold, and it is a dark day for democracy," said Sharif. He said that an APC would be convened next week to chalk out a strategy against 'horse-trading,' adding, "We have decided to identify the turncoats within our ranks and counter the government's gloating over the win."
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that though its no-confidence motion had been thwarted in the Senate, the joint opposition will "not let the puppet government off the hook".
"They (government) should not think that we, the joint opposition will let them off the hook ... We are calling an All Parties Conference, we will fight this battle in the Senate, we will introduce reforms to ensure transparent Senate elections, we will look at the Rules and we will oppose this Senate chairman," he said.
Mir Hasil Bizenjo, who was the candidate of joint opposition, said he had in fact won despite his defeat, as 'democracy won and the hidden forces faced the defeat,' as they have been badly exposed before the world, adding it is the 'hidden powers, which pull the strings of the ruling government.'
"A government senator himself told me that they'd arranged Rs 2 billion to purchase loyalties of opposition senators. I can even mention the name of the senator who told me all this," he claimed.
Leader of the House in the Senate Shibli Faraz said that in all this hullabaloo major political parties were taken advantage of by JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
"The opposition's movement has failed. We've been saying from day-one and we met the leaders of the opposition and explained to them what they are setting out to do is against the prestige of this institution and its stability, besides destroying its spirit," he added.
He said, "We went to Maulana Fazlur Rehman's residence as part of our cultural tradition of visiting other people's houses to discuss matters, but he thought as if we bowed down before him."
"He hasn't even been able to help his own self...what else the others can expect from as he embarrassed all other parties to cash in on the situation. Despite having no political leverage, he used this no-confidence motion for his own politics and I regret that with this, other major political parties were used," said Faraz.
"They did not realise what they are setting out to do will ultimately affect their own selves adversely," he said. He said that the opposition parties undertook the campaign "to save their skin from accountability." He went on to say that Maulana Fazlur Rehman "uses Islam as a shield, whereas the other opposition parties hide from the accountability drive started by the Prime Minister."
"Our opposition leaders themselves realised [that the vote was wrong] and it is with their support that we rendered the no-trust motion unsuccessful," he said.
He further said that the government has no hard feelings towards the opposition and that both sides have to move forward together to bring in legislations for the benefit of the people. "This is not just Sadiq Sanjrani's victory, it is the institution's victory," he continued.
He said that the opposition should now get serious as they have not been elected to simply walk out when there are cases against their leadership. "The House can only be run if both the opposition and the treasury work together," he emphasised.
Faraz rejected the impression that senators had been bought out. "All senators, whether they are from the opposition or the treasury, are all honourable people. At least for this election, I guarantee there was no horse-trading," he added.
He then proceeded to recount the 2015 Senate elections in which Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had only five members and he had been fielded as the party's candidate for the post of deputy chairman of the Senate.
"That day we were not even aware of the Senate's geography. The PTI candidate still obtained 19 votes that day. Will you call this horse-trading? Will you call this being a sell out," he questioned.
Meanwhile, hours after rejection of no-confidence motion against Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, the senators of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Thursday handed over their resignations to PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. Bilawal said that 21 senators have handed over their resignations to him. The senators were of the view that they were ashamed of the party's defeat.