Political parties jockey for Senate top seats as poll draws near

Source:  ARY News Published in Politics on Saturday, March 10, 2018

ISLAMABAD: As the election for Senate chairmanship is drawing near, the ruling and opposition parties are jockeying to succeed their candidates as the next chairman of upper house of the parliament, ARY News reported on Saturday.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has called for a meeting of the heads of PML-N’s political allies yet again here on Saturday to exchange views on the nominees for Senate’s chairmanship and deputy chairman.

The ruling party is to contemplate the names for the top slots of Senate with its allies during the meeting today, the sources said.

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

In the meeting with allies today, the ruling party intends to give an impression that the most of upper house members are with the PML-N and hence the party has right to choose the Senate chairman.

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.