News Analysis |
Sadiq Sanjrani- an independent Senator from Balochistan is finalized as an opposition candidate for the coveted position of Senate chairman. Balochistan Chief Minister (CM) Abdul Quddus Bazinjo had proposed Sanjrani’s name which is endorsed by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
On March 4, freshly elected Senators had demanded that next Senate Chairman should be from Balochistan. While speaking with the media, Senator Sadiq Sanjrani put forth the demand that next chairman should be from Balochistan province asserting that his political group would consult with all senators from the province for the desired cause.
Read more: PML-N looks favorite to win Senate Chairmanship after PPP snubbed Rabbani
PPP delegation had also visited the Baloch Senators amid claims that party is confident in installing its chairman in the Senate.
On contrary to these claims, Baloch independent members put forth the demand to elect a chairman from Balochistan to strengthen the Federation.
Since the total number of Balochistan senators in the Upper House is 22, an independent group under the leadership of Bizenjo was confident of fruitful discussion with remaining 16 Balochistan senators to gather support.
PTI was the first party which supported the idea of Chairman Senate from Balochistan.
On March 8 Imran traveled to Quetta and met the Baloch CM and extended his support to get the next Senate chairman elected from Balochistan and announced that 13- PTI members will support Balochistan CM.
PML-N downplayed the importance of Baloch independent Senators
Putting all the speculations regarding Raza Rabbani to rest, PPP finally announced its support for Sadiq Sanjrani. Speaking to the media, PPP chairman, Bilawal Bhutto said, that PPP’s candidate for the post of Senate chairman will be Sanjrani and for the deputy chairman’s position, PPP will field its own candidate, Senator Saleem Mandviwala- who was favorite for the position.
Despite the opposition of the senior leadership of the party which was against the nomination of inexperienced Baloch leader, PPP decided to nominate Sanjrani. They were of the view that Senate chairmanship demands some experienced person to run the house but, PTI’s refusal to back a nominee from PPP may have played a key role in the last ditch decision. Because, even till the last moment, speculation was rife that Raza Rabbani will be the party nominee for the chairmanship.
PML-N had already made it clear that if PPP fields Raza Rabbani as a candidate, the party will back him, otherwise, the party will announce the candidate in the morning.
Read more: Win in Senate elections may pave way for PML-N to legislate…
Having seen PTI and PPP supporting the Baloch Senators, PML-N downplayed the importance of Baloch independent Senators and claimed that it has acquired the support of enough members that it may not need the support of these independent Senators.
In a challenging political environment, PML-N is confident to win even without the Baloch Senators, as Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F), Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), Awami National Party (ANP), Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F), and National Party (NP) are well within its grasp.
Despite apparently, fruitful negotiations and relentless efforts of Mushahidullah Khan to woe Muttahida Qaumi Movement–Pakistan (MQM-P’s) two groups- Bahadurabad and PIB, it is still not certain, if MQM-P will support PML-N.
Read more: An Irrelevant Senate?
Gossip mills are abuzz that MQM-P is supporting Sadiq Sanjrani.
Both PTI and PPP have developed a narrative to support the cause of Balochistan.
Bilawal accused PML-N of spending 90% of the country’s budget for the development of Punjab. Imran also termed nominating a Senate chairman from Balochistan as an effort to mitigate the sense of deprivation among the inhabitants of the province.
It’s difficult to give a conclusive remark if the opposition parties in question are playing politics or they are genuinely concerned about the deprivations of the Baloch People.
Senate results had put PTI in an awkward position. The desire to beat PML-N amid fear of probable legislation favoring Nawaz was the prime agenda. Given the PTI stance on PPP, it looks near to impossible that PTI will support any of leading candidates for Senate Candidates from PPP. Imran Khan has been a fierce critic of Zardari’s politics.
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In such a situation, PTI’s move to support Baloch Senator could arguably be the best way to support a candidate without publically supporting PPP. Meanwhile, it could gather support to refrain PML-N from legislating new law’s which could facilitate Sharifs against the charges of corruption. Though, apparently, PPP and PTI have managed support of MQM-P, will it gather much-needed support from other small parties is unclear, as government and opposition both claim their support.