Monday Mar 05, 2018
Political temperature in the country is on the rise as parties redouble their efforts to strategise alliances ahead of elections for the seat of Senate chairperson and deputy chairperson.
The competition between Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) for the two seats of power will largely depend on independent senators.
According to reports received by Geo News, political parties are making contact with the eight and four newly elected independent senators from Balochistan and Federally Administered Tribal Areas, respectively, who can change the course of the upcoming poll with the choice of their alliance.
Sources informed Geo News that PML-N's Raja Zafarul Haq has been a strong contender for the top post in the upper house, while the name of Pervaiz Rasheed is also under consideration.
The PML-N, however, may consider if the PPP nominates outgoing Senate chairman Raza Rabbani, according to sources.
Sources further said the PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari considers Salim Mandviwala and Sherry Rehman as strong candidates for Senate chairmanship.
Bilawal, on the other hand, favours Rabbani as the PPP candidate, sources added. The PPP chairman may have Sherry Rehman as his second priority for the top Senate post.
A PPP delegation that reached Quetta earlier today has claimed that all of the eight independent senators from Balochistan have assured the party of their support in the upcoming poll.
The delegation, comprising Dr Abdul Qayyum Soomro, Faisal Karim Kundi and Ali Madad Jattak, reached Quetta earlier today to meet Chief Minister of Balochistan Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo.
The party leaders had held talks to convince the newly elected independent senators to join the party upon the special instructions of PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari.
Senior party leader Khurshid Shah and Soomro, both, claimed that the PPP will 'win the war' of the Senate chairmanship.
Bizenjo, elected as the province's chief minister following a no-confidence against the PML-N led provincial government on January 13, has said that his party is willing to hold talks with all parties in the larger interest of their province.
"We do not have conflicts with any party," Bizenjo told journalists during a press conference earlier today.
He also underlined the significance of his party managing to bag six seats in the Upper House.
The independent candidates backed by the ruling party won 15 Senate seats across the country, according to unofficial and unverified results.
It now has a total of 33 seats in the Upper House. Along with its allies, the party has 48 seats in the Senate.
PPP was replaced as the largest party in the Senate after Saturday's polls. The party, down six seats, has a total of 21 seats. Along with its allies, the party holds 40 seats in the Upper House of the Parliament.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, with 12 seats, is the third largest party in the Senate. With its strong opposition to both the PML-N and PPP, it will be interesting to see which party PTI will choose to join hands with.