51 Newly Elected Senators Take Oath as Govt. Opposition Eye Senate Chairmanship
Senator-elect former finance minster Ishaq Dar didn’t take oath as he has been abroad in connection with his treatment.
The Senate will meet again at 4:00 pm today when secret balloting for its chairman and deputy chairman is to take place.
The ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) has yet not made public its candidates for the top offices of the upper house.
However, the opposition parties, mainly Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), have combined forces to vote for an independent senator from Balochistan for Senate chairman.
A tough contest is expected between nominees of the opposition and ruling parties as the latter claims to have gathered the support of 57 senators in the 104-house to elect its nominee with ease.
A day earlier, PPP announced support for independent senator-elect from Balochistan Sadiq Sanjrani for the coveted post of Senate chairman, turning down PML-N’s proposal to field Raza Rabbani for the top office.
Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo proposed the name of Sanjrani, who also enjoyed the support of Imran Khan-led PTI.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari made this announcement after a meeting of party leaders in the federal capital on late Sunday night.
He said the party has decided to back Sadiq Sanjrani for the office of Senate chairman and field Saleem Mandviwalla for deputy chairman.
The ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and its allies have yet not announced their nominees for the top positions.
PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif chaired a meeting of party leaders and allies in Islamabad on Sunday, where they decided to support Raza Rabbani, if PPP nominates him for the office of Senate chairman.
PML-N Information Secretary Mushahidullah Khan said they had been waiting for PPP to nominate its candidate for Senate chairman after which they would unveil the names of their candidates.
Pakistan’s Senate comprises of 104 members and to replace the outgoing Senate chairman Raza Rabbani with their candidates, the mainstream parties need at least 53 votes.
The PML-N emerged as the largest parliamentary group of the house with 33 Senators. While, the PPP has overall 20 seats in the Senate and the PTI stands third major party in the Senate with 13 seats.
The groups of independent senators-elect from Balochistan and Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (Fata) are believed to play a crucial role in the upcoming election for the offices of Senate chairman and deputy chairman.