PML-N claims having majority votes to elect its Senate chairman

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: As the election for Senate chairmanship is drawing near, the ruling and opposition parties have stepped up jockeying to clinch the top slots of the Upper House of the Parliament on Saturday.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired a consultative meeting of the heads of the PML-N’s political allies here on Saturday to exchange views on the nominees for the offices of Senate chairman and deputy chairman.

The participants debated various names for the top slots of the Senate.

Speaking to media after the meeting, PML-N leader Mushahid Ullah Khan said the ruling party has achieved majority votes to clinch the top positions of the chairman and deputy chairman of the Senate. He claimed the party was in a position to bring its chairman and deputy chairman with help of its allies.

The PML-N leader said the names of the nominees for the hot seats of the Senate would be unveiled tomorrow.

Sources said the ruling party and its allies agreed to field Raza Rabbani for Senate chairman slot.

It was the second meeting of ruling party within a week over nominations for Senate deputy and chairman seats.

Following the meeting, Balochistan’s National Party (NP) leader Hasil Bizenjo said his party would support the candidates fielded by the ruling party.

Similar sentiments were expressed by Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) convener Dr. Farooq Sattar.

Besides political allies like Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F), Sindh’s PML-F, Balochistan’s National Party (NP) and Pashtunkhwa Mili Awami Party (PkMAP), the ruling party also intends to approach the independent candidates for their support.

Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi met with ousted premier Sharif and exchanged views on the upcoming elections for the Senate chairman and deputy chairman positions. Decisive role of Independent senators-elect from Balochistan, FATA

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.

The mainstream political parties are eying the independent candidates to get their favourite candidate elected as Senate chairman in scheduled poll on March 12.

On Friday, Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan put weight behind Balochistan and FATA candidates for election on the seats of Senate chairman and deputy chairman.

“We will strive to make chairman senate from Balochistan, while deputy chairman should be from FATA region to recognise their sacrifices in the war on terror,” he said while talking to media in Islamabad regarding election on the top seats of the senate.

However, he said the PTI would not vote for the PPP and PML-N 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.