BY INAMULLAH KHATTAK
ISLAMABAD – Independent Balochistan senator-elect Sadiq Sanjrani has emerged as a top contender for the post of Senate chairman, with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), PPP, MQM-P and Balochistan senators reportedly reaching consensus on his nomination for the March 12 election.
The PTI had earlier on Friday announced that it would vote for neither the PPP nor the PML-N’s nominees during the election for Senate chairman. A day later, however, the PTI announced that it would vote for the panel announced by Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo in connection with the election for the Senate’s top posts.
On Sunday, the party announced its support for Sanjrani, already backed by CM Bizenjo, as its pick for the post. The PTI will also be backing the PPP’s nominee for deputy chairman Senate, who will be a part of Bizenjo’s panel, as per an agreement with the Balochistan CM.
Sanjrani, an independent senator from Balochistan, is considered close to the PPP leadership and may be backed by the ruling party in Sindh ─ in exchange for his support to the PPP’s proposed deputy chairman ─ and by four out of five MQM-P senators, who have also extended their support to the PPP’s nominee for deputy chairman, according to well-placed sources.
Although the PPP’s pick for deputy chairman has yet to be announced publicly, Saleem Mandviwala is considered to be the front-runner for the position, the source said.
PTI’s inclination towards PPP’s candidate emerged after a meeting between Balochistan CM Bizenjo and PTI Chairman Imran Khan at the latter’s Bani Gala residence on Sunday. Bizenjo was accompanied by a delegation of independent senators-elect from the province.
During the meeting, Khan announced his support for any candidate the PPP puts up for the post of deputy chairman as per an agreement with Bizenjo.
“As per our promise to the Balochistan CM, we will support the PPP’s candidate for deputy chairman of the Senate,” Khan assured a delegation of the senators-elect from Balochistan.
Imran Khan told the media in a visit to Faisalabad on Sunday that during the meeting with Bizenjo, he had been asked to support the Balochistan CM’s panel, which included a deputy chairman nominated by the PPP. Both sides had already agreed on supporting senator-elect Sanjrani for the post of chairman of the Upper House.
The PTI chief added that he had agreed to support Bizenjo’s panel as “mitigating a sense of deprivation among the citizens of Balochistan is essential”.
“Extraordinary steps are needed to remove the sense of deprivation among the people of Balochistan,” he said. “Countering the corrupt and selfish Sharif family is mandatory to safeguard the reputation of the parliament and democracy,” he claimed, explaining his reasons behind the decision.
According to the sources, the PML-N has been having a tough time rallying support for its picks for the posts of chairman and deputy chairman Senate.
The PML-N’s leadership had asked Hasil Bizenjo of the National Party to take the lead for them in the race for Senate chairman and garner support from other senators in the province, but the independents gave him the cold shoulder.
Hasil Bizenjo was subsequently advised by the newly elected Balochistan chief minister to stay away from the tussle brewing between the independents and the ruling party, the sources said.Courtesy Dawn