Government, Opposition Fight for Pakistani Senate Control

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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.

The ruling PML-N and allies after final consultation in the morning nominated veteran politician from Rawalpindi, Senator Raja Zafarul Haq, as chairman and Usman Kakar from Balochistan as deputy chairman, according PML-N Senator Mushahidullah Khan.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was a majority party in Senate and it had the right to field its candidate for the slot of the chairman.

Balochistan independent Senator Sadiq Sanjrani has been elected as Senate Chairman as he bagged 57 votes out of the total 103, DawnNewsTV reported.

Nasar also administered oath to Sanjrani who immediately took the seat and announced to conduct the elections of deputy chairman.

PML-N displaced the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) as the single biggest one in the upper house in elections on March 3. This is actually the Victory of People of Balochistan & Credit goes to Imran Khan & all the Parties who Supported Him.

Sanjrani, an independent, had been backed by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P).

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Today, Fata and MQM senators have said that they will also be voting for Sanjrani and Madviwala.

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 majority party remains Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), but their position seems to weaken significantly. However, just a day later, it announced that it would vote for the panel announced by the Balochistan chief minister.

The PML-N, which appeared to be floundering without the backing of other major players in politics, held meetings with allies today to finalise their nominees for the top posts after Sanjrani emerged as the joint opposition's top contender for chairman Senate on Sunday.

It will be followed by oath by the members-elect under Article 65 of the Constitution and signing of the roll of members.

Newly elected senators take oath on Monday.

The political parties were scrambling till last minute to get the upper hand through election of chairman.

However, PML-N's chairman nominee Raja Zafarul Haq denied the claims and said, "Fata's senators will vote for the government, they will not vote for the opposition".