Who will be the new Chairman Senate?

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has formally started the process to dethrone chairman senate, Sadiq Sanjarani. According to local media reports, former President Asif Ali Zardari presided over a meeting to finalize the candidate names for a new chairman position.

Chairman

News Analysis |

Well-placed sources claim that Deputy Chairman Senate Saleem Mandviwalla is keen to become the next chairman, but PPP decided not to elect someone who has already been chairman in the past. PPP also sought names from the opposition parties. PML-N is reportedly considering the name of Pervez Rasheed, a senator closer to Maryam Nawaz.

All the suggested names will be sent to the Rehbar Committee which will finalize the decision for the post. Recently, PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) decided to replace the chairman Senate. Sanjrani, a little-known opposition candidate was elected as Senate chairman in March 2018. He had got 57 votes out of a total 103, while PML-N’s candidate Raja Zafarul Haq bagged 46 votes.

Analysts have shown their reservations and suggested premier Khan to draw some clear boundaries so that nobody blackmails them again.  

Interestingly, PPP, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and others had backed Sanjrani but PPP’s co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari was mostly credited with engineering Sanjrani’s victory. A majority of 53 members is required to remove the Senate chairman. Currently, the media reported, PPP, PML-N, National Party and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) have 46 members in the Senate, while there are 29 independent senators.

The Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) has two members, while the Awami National Party (ANP), Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and PML-Functional have one member each. The ruling PTI has 14 members. Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has five and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) has two senators.

Read more: Has Zardari’s engineered appointment of Senate chairman backfired?

On the other hand, PTI, Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q), BAP and GDA members met Sadiq Sanjarani in the Senate’s chamber to express solidarity and to fully support to him. Senate chairman expressed that he always tried to run the House in a neutral way while Federal Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination, Dr Fehmida Mirza, said that the chairman stood with the Senate.

PPP also sought names from the opposition parties. PML-N is reportedly considering the name of Pervez Rasheed, a senator closer to Maryam Nawaz.

The relationship between the PPP and PML-N became even stronger after both realized that the current prime minister was not going to sign any deal with them. Asif Zardari and Shahbaz Sharif made all efforts to seek some concession and play a role of friendly opposition. It did not work.

Read more: Deputy Chairman Senate trying to influence Islamabad Police?

PPP is also in contact with the allies of the current government to destabilize it and pressurize it in order to attain desired political ends. A committee of four members was recently constituted by the PPP chairman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, to approach the BNP and convince them to part their ways with the PTI-led government. However, Jhangir Khan Tareen stepped in and resolved the matter between BNP and PTI.

But during the ongoing political drama, MQM-P, an ally of the ruling party, was able to bargain and get more ministries. Analysts have shown their reservations and suggested premier Khan to draw some clear boundaries so that nobody blackmails them again.

Moreover, joint opposition may utilize their resources and bring in a new chairman Senate but it is unlikely to affect the ongoing accountability drive. The underlying objective of the opposition is to put pressure on the government and evade the accountability, which is likely to stay here after the repeated commitments of the prime minster.

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