Former prime minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani Monday filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) challenging the rejection of seven votes in the election for Senate chairman’s slot. Senator Gilani moved the petition through his counsel Farooq H Naek requesting the high court to declare the result of the election of Senate chairman held on March 12 ‘illegal, unlawful and void’. In the petition, Gilani pleaded that seven votes cast in his favour were rejected by the RO during the election for the Senate chairman, adding that the RO’s order to declare the votes invalid should be overturned. Gilani alleged in his petition that the government had attempted to influence the result of the election to win Senate top slot ‘by hook or by crook’. “During the process of counting of votes, the presiding officer (Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah) arbitrarily rejected seven of the votes Cast in the petitioner’s favour on the ground that stamp was affixed on the name of the petitioner despite protest of the petitioner’s polling agent Senator Farooq H Naek that the stamp had been fixed within the box containing the name of the petitioner,” he contended. “The votes rejected by the presiding officer clearly evince the voter’s intent to vote for the petitioner and no one else,” the petitioner argued. Moreover, he added, these are in compliance with the notice affixed near the polling booth as well as the understanding conveyed by the Senate secretary.