ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) announced its support for Sadiq Sanjrani, an independent Senator-elect from Balochistan, for the slot of Senate chairman.
Speaking to media, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto said that it would field Saleem Mandviwalla for the deputy chairman seat in the election scheduled to take place on Monday (today).
Earlier, the PPP and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had given Chief Minister Balochistan Abdul Quddus Bizenjo the authority to bring forth a joint candidate for the slots with the help of newly-elected independent senators from Balochistan.
The PTI also threw its weight behind Sanjrani.
Chief Minister Balochistan Abdul Quddus Bizenjo held a meeting with PTI Chairman Imran Khan at his Bani Gala residence earlier today along with independent senators from the province.
Following the meeting, the PTI spokesperson informed the media that the party would support Sanjrani for Senate chairman.
Meanwhile, the Balochistan CM also met with leaders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) to get the support their five senators in the upper house.
Sanjrani is also said to have the support of independent senators elected from Balochistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
PML-N, allies yet to announce candidates
Earlier, National Party chief Hasil Bizenjo told reporters after a meeting of the ruling PML-N and its allies that they have finalised names for the chairman and deputy chairman slots.
However, Bizenjo stopped short of taking any names, saying they would wait for an announcement from the PPP tonight.
The PML-N had suggested the name of PPP senior leader and outgoing Senate chairman Mian Raza Rabbani—who was reelected in the Senate elections last week.
Bizenjo said the PML-N would back Rabbani if he is fielded by PPP for the chairman slot, otherwise Nawaz Sharif would announce the PML-N candidate on Monday morning.
PML-N leader Zaeem Qadri confirmed the same while speaking in Geo News show Lekin.
When asked if the PML-N wants the chairman to be from Balochistan, Qadri said the chairman “should be and will be” from the province.
Senate session on Monday (today)
President Mamnoon Hussain has summoned a session of the Senate on March 12, in which newly-elected senators will be sworn in at 10am.
Nomination papers for Senate chairman and deputy chairman will then be submitted in the Senate Secretariat at noon.
The nomination papers will be reviewed at 2pm after which another session will be summoned at 4pm the same day, when the chairman and deputy chairman will be elected.
Following the election, the Senate chairman will take oath, and will then swear in his deputy.
After the oath-taking, the session will be adjourned until further notice.
The PML-N and independents backed by the party have 33 members in the Senate following the March 3 election.
If one adds the party’s allies — five senators of the PkMAP, five of NP, four of JUI-F and one from PML-Functional — then the count goes up to 48.
The PML-N and its allies claim that they are ahead in the numbers game, and are certain of support from five senators of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), two of eight from FATA and one each from the Awami National Party and Balochistan National Party (Mengal).
If the PML-N indeed gets support from these nine senators, then the party will have a total of 57 members. However, the PPP also appears confident that it will get votes from the required number of senators to get Sanjrani elected.
A total of 53 votes are needed to win the posts.