PML-N sure to win slot, PPP divided

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Senate Chairman elections

PTI to thwart all efforts for appointing PML-N nominee; Senators to vote for Balochistan CM’s candidate: Imran

Sophia Siddiqui/Tariq Saeed

Islamabad/Peshawar

With Pakistan People’s Party(PPP) divided over the party’s nominee for the post of Senate Chairman, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Thursday claimed to have majority in the Senate to appoint the chairman and the deputy chairman.
During a PML-N meeting chaired by the party Quaid, Nawaz Sharif, report over efforts to gain support in the Senate were presented by Saad Rafique, Mushahidullah Khan, Ayaz Sadiq and Musahid Hussain.
Reports claimed that there was more than enough support for the party to appoint the chairman and deputy chairman.
According to sources, MQM-P, PML-F and other smaller allied parties have extended their support to the PML-N.
Speaking to the media following the meeting, Saad Rafique said the party had yet not decided on candidates for the Senate posts.
Earlier in the day, Nawaz reiterated that he personally wants to see Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Raza Rabbani as the next Senate chairman.
PML-N and its allies on Wednesday had decided to extend support to Rabbani if the incumbent chairman’s name is once again suggested by the PPP.
The decision to back Rabbani was taken during a PML-N meeting chaired by Nawaz. The meeting was also attended by Jamiat Ulema-e-Fazl (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman and Hasil Khan Bizenjo among other leaders.
Soon after the PML-N meeting, Maulana Fazl met with PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari. Speaking to reporters after the meeting Zardari said he did not want Raza Rabbani to continue as Senate chair-man.
However, according to sources, several party stalwarts expressed their reservations over not nominating Raza Rabbani. There has also been resistance to naming Saleem Mandviwalla as the party’s nominee for the post.
A simple majority which translates to 53 votes is required to appoint the chairman and deputy chairman of the Senate. Following the elections, PML-N and independents backed by the party will have 33 seats in the Senate followed by the PPP with 20.
After the Senate elections, independents make up the third largest grouping with 17 seats. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, which would have 12 seats after the new senators are sworn in, has announced that it would not back any party not would it field a PTI candidate for the top Senate posts.
While the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Thursday claimed to have attained majority to appoint its own Senate chairman, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Imran Khan has declared to offer tough resistance in this regard adding the appointment of PML N senate chairman meant giving protection to the misdeeds of the corrupt rulers.
“The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf is determined to do its best to thwart attempts by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in its efforts to install a Senate chairman from PML-N as we believe that the PML Nawaz appointed Senate Chairman will spend all its energies to hide massive corruption of Nawaz Sharif family”. The PTI Supremo told media persons in Peshawar Thursday.
The Chairman PTI, whose party is heading the coalition government in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa alleged that the manner in which recent elections for the Upper House were conducted only encouraged horse-trading and vote’s sale purchase. Imran Khan further alleged that the secret ballot itself gives the opportunity to sell votes by the lawmakers who thus cannot be held accountable.
Even this time the same happened what we apprehended in the senate elections. The only difference that this time was that high amount was paid to purchase the loyalties of members and according to our information 40 million Rs. were paid to each member to buy his vote.
Imran admitted the PTI could not enter into some kind of understanding with the Pakistan Peoples Party for the election of Senate chairman saying it was difficult to form an alliance with the PPP.
He said PTI is conducting an internal inquiry following the Senate polls and commended the efforts of Party lawmakers who out rightly rejected to sell their conscious adding those are the assets of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf.
Earlier, in a bid to elect a Senate chairman hailing from Balochistan, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan announced on Thursday that all of the party’s 13 senators will vote for the candidate fielded by Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bazinjo.
Addressing a joint news conference with Bazinjo in Islamabad, Khan said the new Senate chairman must belong to Balochistan and not from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Express News reported.
“We all must make sure that the Senate chairman is not from the PML-N as they deceive the masses in the name of democracy … they [PML-N] will try to legislate allowing Nawaz Sharif to indulge in corrupt practices,” said the PTI chief.
Ever since the Panama Papers scandal has surfaced, the PML-N leaders are trying to hide Nawaz Sharif’s corruption, he said, adding that, “They are attacking all institutions that refuse to work for them. They attack armed forces and the Supreme Court…this is not a democratic attitude.”
Speaking on the occasion, the Balochistan CM thanked the PTI chief for his big-hearted support, saying Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari was also meeting him today and he will try to convince him that the Senate chairman should be from Balochistan.
“We still consider [National Party chief] Hasil Bazinjo as Nawaz’s team member… we invite him to join our team,” he added.

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