57 Senators to back PML-N Senate chairmanship candidate

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Staff Reporter

Islamabad

PML-N leader Mushahidullah Khan claimed on Saturday that his party already has votes that far exceed the required number for election of the new Senate chairman and deputy chairman.
“The good news to come out of all the discussions held so far is that our figure has far exceeded the required number. One group is left with which discussions are still underway. The talks will conclude tonight,” he said while talking to reporters here.
He said the party will first hold discussions with all its allies and then announce its candidates for the chairman and deputy chairman.
“That announcement would have been made but Mian Nawaz Sharif has the authority to do so and he will either do the honours Saturday night from Lahore or from here in Islamabad Sunday.
“Our figure is now approximately 57-59 [votes] which is a concrete figure. We are not pulling numbers out of thin air like our opposition parties have been for many days now,” he remarked.
“Like we have mentioned previously, the chairman and deputy chairman will either be from our party or of our choosing… There is no disagreement between any of the [allied] parties. We have yet to announce the candidates as there is one small hindrance on which deliberations are still underway,” came his reply, still hesitant to reveal anything further.
When asked if anything has been decided regarding the appointment of a senator from FATA to the deputy chairman’s post, Mushahid said: “We are pondering this decision. There is no commitment so far but since they are undoubtedly important members of the parliament – two members from FATA have joined us as well – we will consider their proposal carefully and try to reach a decision with them.”
MQM-P leader Farooq Sattar while talking to the media earlier had claimed that Sharif would be willing to support Raza Rabbani as a candidate if the PPP revises its decision. Asked if that was the reason why no announcement regarding the candidates had been made by the PML-N so far, Mushahid said:
“If Nawaz Sharif said something about an individual, the basis for that was just the fact that he is a pro-democratic, pro-constitution personality who has rendered great services to the nation and a suggestion for an individual was made.”
Addressing the suggestion that Rabbani’s decisions have always worked out in Sharif’s favour, Mushahid retorted by saying, “They have gone in Nawaz Sharif’s favour because they are in democracy’s favour and because they support the constitution and the upholding of the law.” With less than two days before the much-awaited Senate chairman election next Monday, the PML-N has held various meetings with the party leaders, allies, and potential supporters for the poll. PML-N Senator and senior leader Mushahid Ullah Khan claimed on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister of Balochistan Abdul Quddus Bizenjo denied that he had entrusted Zardari to nominate Senate Chairman.
Talking to a news channel, Bizenjo said that he has not given any authority to Zardari for nominating Senate Chairman. He asserted that if PPP did not agree to select an independent senator of Balochistan for Senate Chairman, his party will then consult Imran Khan.
The consultation stage between the PML-N and its allies has entered the final phase. A number of names came forward for Senate chairmanship candidate in the session chaired by Nawaz Sharif. Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Mir Hasil Bizenjo, PkMAP’s Usman Kakar and Azam Musa Kheil also took part in the meeting.
On being asked whether he was going to be PML-N’s candidate for the position, Bizenjo smiled and asked everyone to pray. A delegation of MQM-P’s PIB Colony faction also met Nawaz Sharif. Farooq Sattar said he trusted Rabbani.
National Party leader Hasil Bizenjo spoke with reporters following the meeting, stating that the authority to nominate a chairman and deputy chairman had been given to Nawaz.
When asked about the possibility of Raza Rabbani being the nominee for the top post, Bizenjo replied: “Rabbani’s own party is not willing to nominate him.” The NP leader added that apart from his party, the PML-N had the support of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F, Jamaat-e-Islami and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and there had been no discussions in the meeting for appointing the chairman from Balochistan. “This is not an issue of Balochistan, rather an issue for the allied parties.”
A day ago, both the factions of the MQM-P appeared willing to support PML-N. To cross the number 53, support from FATA senators will be important, who demanded the post of deputy chairman in their meeting with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi earlier.

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