Opposition nominates Hasil Bizenjo as joint candidate for senate chairmanship

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ISLAMABAD: The ‘Rehbar Committee’ of the joint opposition parties on Thursday has nominated National Party’s (NP) Hasil Bizenjo as its candidate for the chairmanship of the Senate amid much efforts to de-seat incumbent Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani.

The opposition parties were also mulling over the names of PML-N senators Raja Zafarul Haq, Pervez Rashid and Musadiq Malik for the post. The opposition’s meeting also formulated its next course-of-action against Sanjrani in the upper house of the parliament.

Members of the parliament participated in the Rehbar Committee in the meeting, and devised a joint strategy for launching a protest campaign against the government on July 25 – the day the opposition has termed as the “black day”.

The opposition parties in the Senate have already submitted a resolution for de-seating the chairman of the Senate by bringing a no-confidence motion against him.

The resolution signed by 38 senators was submitted to the secretary of the Senate. Moreover, opposition members submitted a requisition for convening a session of the Senate.

Earlier, senators of the opposition parties convened a meeting in the chamber of Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Raja Zafarul Haq, who chaired the meeting, to sign the resolution. However, two senators of the Jamat-e-Islami (JI) remained absent during the meeting.

The meeting was attended by Senators Sherry Rehman, Sassui Palijo, Ashok Kumar, Pervez Rashid, Musadiq Malik, Mushahidullah Khan and Usman Kakar among others.

According to details, the joint opposition parties have the required majority in the Senate to de-seat the senate chairman – as in the 104-member house, from the current 103 members; the support of only 53 senators is required for the senate chairmanship. The opposition parties collectively have the support of 65 senators.

Numerically, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has 30 senators excluding Ishaq Dar – who didn’t take oath – and including 13 independent candidates who had joined PML-N, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has 21 senators, National Party (NP) has five, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) has four, PKMAP has four and Awami National Party (ANP) has one. This way, the opposition parties collectively have the support of 65 senators.

Contrarily, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has 14 senators, MQM has five and seven senators are from FATA. Pakistan Muslim League Functional and Balochistan National Party (Mengal) have one senator each sitting in alliance with the government. The Balochistan Awami Party, including Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, has eight senators.

Collectively, the government has the support of 36 senators.

Two senators of the Jamat-e-Islami (JI) has not attended opposition parties’ meetings, and hence in the motion of no-confidence, it is still unclear which side JI will support.

In accordance with the rules of the House, the no-confidence motion with the signatures of at least one-fourth of the total number of senators can be submitted in the Senate.

After the voting on the no-confidence motion, the incumbent senate chairman will leave his position, and the Senate Secretariat will issue a new schedule for voting of the new chairman.

If the motion of no-confidence gets successful, then the new chairman will be elected through secret balloting. The next session of the Senate will be called in 14 days.