ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has announced his party’s support for Sadiq Sanjrani, a candidate proposed by Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bazinjo and backed by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for the post of Senate chairman.
Speaking to reporters in Islamabad on Sunday, Bilawal said the PPP’s candidate for the post of Senate chairman will be Sanjrani and for deputy chairman’s seat in the upper house of parliament, the party will field its own senator Saleem Mandviwala.
Sanjrani, the joint candidate for all opposition parties will contest against the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) candidate for the post of Senate chairman, he added.
Later, Bilwal expressed hope for the victory of the two candidates finalised for the top Senate slots on Twitter.
Speaking on the occasion, Balochistan CM Bazinjo said that the history was in the making as the PPP, despite having majority seats among opposition parties, opted to back to his candidate.
“Peoples Party had also strived for Balochistan’s rights through constitutional amendments earlier and we are grateful to them for that,” he added.
PTI chief Imran Khan had already announced his party’s support for Sanjrani, but the main opposition was unwilling to support ‘inexperienced’ parliamentarians for the top Senate positions as decided in a late-night huddle on Saturday.
Sources privy to the last night’s meeting said that most of the senior PPP leaders advised their top leadership to field an ‘experienced’ senator from the party for the office of the Senate chairman instead of supporting any ‘inexperienced’ candidates.
The PTI said on Saturday it was ready to vote for a panel nominated by Chief Minister Bizenjo, which could have a PPP candidate for deputy chairmanship. PTI chief Imran Khan said that Chief Minister Bizenjo had sought the PTI’s support for the whole panel.
The Balochistan independent senators, led by Bizenjo, have held several rounds of talks with the top leaders the PPP and the PTI in the past two days.
Speaking to the media after the meeting alongside Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, Bilawal said the nomination of Sanjrani was aimed to help resolve the problems facing the people of the province.
Earlier, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader Nawaz Sharif chaired a meeting of party leaders and allies in the federal capital today to discuss their candidates for the top offices of the Senate.
With the ruling party claiming to have gathered the support of as many as 57 senators in the 104-House to elect its candidates with ease, Sharif and his allies decided to support Raza Rabbani, if PPP nominates him for the office of Senate chairman.
PML-N Information Secretary Mushahidullah Khan said they had been waiting for PPP to nominate its candidate for Senate chairman.
If Rabbani was not nominated, Sharif would make public the name of party’s own nominee for the slot, he said.
National Party President Mir Hasil Bizenjo told media after the huddle that if PPP fielded Rabbani, the ruling party and allies would vote for him.
He said they would field their own candidate if the Bilawal Bhutto Zardari-led party didn’t respond in affirmative to their proposal.
After the meeting, Nawaz Sharif left for Lahore and will return to the federal capital tomorrow to hold a final round of deliberations over Senate chairman and deputy chairman nominees.
Earlier today, the PTI spokesperson confirmed that party will support newly elected Senator Sadiq Sanjrani from Balochistan for the post of Senate chairman.
Talking to media following a meeting between party chairman Imran Khan and Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, the spokesperson said the party chief agreed on Sadiq Sanjrani as candidate for Senate chairmanship.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan on Sunday overtly stated to support senator-elect Sadiq Sanjrani as candidate for the post of Senate chairman.
The PTI spokesperson confirmed the nomination of Sanjrani and informed the media that the decision has been taken during a meeting between Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and party chairman Imran Khan at Bani Gala earlier today.
Earlier today, Bizenjo called on Imran Khan at his Bani Gala residence in Islamabad.
According to sources, the PTI chief and Bizenjo exchanged views on the names of the senators-elect for the Senate chairmanship ahead of election tomorrow.
During the meeting, Imran Khan agreed on Sadiq Sanjrani, an independent Senator-elect from Balochistan, as candidate for Senate chairmanship, the sources said.
However, the PTI chief is still to propose a candidate for the position of deputy chairman, the sources further said.
Previously, the PTI chief had extended party support to the groups of independent senators-elect from Balochistan and FATA for election on the seats of Senate chairman and deputy chairman.
“We will strive to make chairman senate from Balochistan, while deputy chairman should be from FATA region to recognise their sacrifices in the war on terror,” he said earlier this week while talking to media in Islamabad.
The incumbent Balochistan chief minister has been receiving support from two major political parties Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) and PTI.
On the other hand, the PPP leadership has still to announce the names of their candidates for the Senate top seats. Pakistan’s Senate comprises of 104 members and to replace the outgoing Senate chairman Raza Rabbani with their candidates, the mainstream parties need at least 53 votes.
The PML-N emerged as the largest parliamentary group of the house with 33 Senators. While, the PPP has overall 20 seats in the Senate and the PTI stands third major party in the Senate with 13 seats.
The groups of independent senators-elect from Balochistan and Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (Fata) are believed to play a crucial role in the upcoming election for the offices of Senate chairman and deputy chairman