News Desk |
An enemy of my enemy is my friend. This was visible after the unsavory alliance of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) which joined hands to defeat their common rival Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in today’s Senate elections. An Independent senator from Balochistan, Mir Sadiq Sanjrani, became the 8th chairman of Senate with the combined support of a number of political parties. He defeated PML-N’s candidate Raja Zafarul Haq by bagging 57 votes against his 46 votes.
Read more: Significance of a Baloch Senate chairman
51 Senators elected on 3rd March took their oaths in the Senate earlier today. Defunct Ifinance minister Ishaq Dar was absent as he is under treatment in London. PML-N became the biggest party in Senate after bagging 15 seats in the Senate elections, taking their total strength to 33 in the Senate. Despite having a majority, the PML-N failed to get their candidate elected as the chairman against an astonishing united opposition.
Sadiq Sanjrani won as an independent candidate in Balochistan with the help of the disgruntled PML-N candidates who helped to topple the government of former chief minister Balochistan Sanaullah Zehri. A total number of 7 independent candidates won from Balochistan. This group was led by the current CM Balochistan Abdul Quddus Bizenjo to negotiate with the PPP and PTI for their support in elections for the Senate chairman. Both parties agreed to support Bizenjo’s candidate while openly condemning the other party.
How did Sanjrani win?
Sanjrani had the support of 20 PPP, 12 PTI, 7 Independent, 6 FATA and 5 MQM-P senators which adds the total number to 50. On the other hand, the PML-N candidate, Raja Zafarul Haq, had the support of 53 senators with the help of their allies PkMAP, NP, JUI-F and JI. Initial reports showed Haq as the favorite for the senate chairmanship. The anomaly in the election results shows that some PML-N allies betrayed them and voted for the opposing camp.
Another setback for the PML-N
PML-N had earlier faced a major setback in the 3rd March Senate elections when they lost a seat in Punjab to the PTI and lost its entire seats in Balochistan. The loss of a seat in Punjab showed that some PML-N members voted against their own member in favor of the PTI. The same thing happened in the elections for Senate chairmanship; some senators double crossed the PML-N and voted for the rival group. Since the voting was held through a secret ballot, there is no way of finding out the renegade members.
Who is Mir Sadiq Sanjrani?
Sanjrani belongs to the mineral rich district of Balochistan Chaghi which has huge reserves of gold, copper, silver and many other minerals. Saindak and Reko Diq copper and gold mines are also located in the district. He started his political career in Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N and stayed with him until his ouster by the military in 1999. Sanjrani later joined the PPP and was appointed in charge of the PPP’s complaint cell where he worked for five years.
How would a Baloch Senator make a difference?
Balochistan has been one of the most deprived provinces of Pakistan with the highest level of poverty, lowest literacy rate and human development index, the infrastructure development has also been negligible. There are also a number of separatist and insurgent groups operating in Balochistan. The initiation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which will pass through Balochistan, has provided a golden opportunity to the Pakistani government to mainstream Balochistan and bring it at par with the other provinces.
As the chairman, he’ll be able to raise Baloch issues in the upper house and play a major role in pro-Baloch legislature
Considering the present situation, electing the chairman Senate from Balochistan would be a big leap forward for the country and the province. Stability in Balochistan is imperative for stability in the whole country and a Baloch chairman would give to the plight of the Balochis who have long been ignored by the country. The hairman presides over the whole senate and controls the topics of discussion, interprets and applies the standing orders, responds to Members’ points of order relating to them and gives rulings on procedure when necessary.
The low population and lack of representation in the centre has always been a major hindrance in the highlighting the issues of Baloch people. Majority of the senators elected from the Balochistan assembly in the past were not residents of Balochistan, some senators did not even visit the province during the tenure. Sanjrani, on the other hand, is a resident of Balochistan and has resided there for most of his life. As the chairman, he’ll be able to raise Baloch issues in the upper house and play a major role in pro-Baloch legislature and become a true custodian of their rights.