ISLAMABAD: The opposition parties’ threat to remove the Senate chairman may have become a non-starter due to deep divisions that exist not just between, but even within the major parties.
The parliamentary leader of the Awami National Party (ANP), a member of which first brought up the possibility of removing Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, seems to be clueless of any related developments, while Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party leaders also distanced themselves or outright opposed the move.
ANP has distanced itself from the statements made by its Senator Zahid Khan against the Senate chairman. On the other side, members of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf maintained that the opposition parties running from pillar to post to “save” their top leaders should focus on their “elders” before discussing the business of the upper house.
Sanjrani’s seat does not face any risk, said Senator Jehanzeb Jamaldini, while noting that the chairman hails from Balochistan. “The first thing is that such a move cannot be taken. PPP itself vested its confidence in Sadiq Sanjrani. How can it backtrack after electing him through a vote?”
Talking to The Express Tribune, many members of the government and the opposition opposed the move to remove the Senate chairman, while others appeared clueless about who was planning any such move.
PML-N Senator General (retd) Abdul Qayyum said that the Senate chairman was doing a wonderful job and that the news about his removal reflects only rumours. “The party has not had any discussion on it,” he said.
On the other hand, Member of the National Assembly Riaz Hussain Pirzada maintained that the All Parties Conference will take into consideration all matters including that of the Senate chairman. However, he added, the party has not reached any concrete decision in this regard.
Meanwhile, PML-N’s Najma Hameed could not hold back from praising the Senate chairman and said that he had been demonstrating a very good approach to his role and towards all senators, adding that the PML-N was also rendering all support for him.
PPP Senator Rehman Malik proposed that it would be better if the reports were verified.” In my opinion, this is only a wishful assumption and there is no reality in it,” he said.
Maula Baksh Chandio maintained that he had no information on the matter and was clueless about the party’s stand on it. “How can such a thing be desired by any one party…our party is not on this agenda,” he said.
Meanwhile, PPP Senator Bahamand Tangi and JUI-F’s Senator Abdul Ghafoor Haideri maintained that they had not heard of any such development. According to Haideri, a former deputy chairman of the JUI-F, no one has made any contact in this regard and there have been no talks on the suggestion.
Amir of Jamaat-e-Islami Sirajul Haq also said that the opposition parties have not contacted his party in this regard. “We will think about that when any request is made.”
Former Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chief minister and ANP’s parliamentary secretary Amir Haider Khan Hoti said that he had no information about his party spokesperson’s statement regarding the Senate chairman. He said that in terms of numbers a fully united opposition could remove the chairman if it wished, but no one from any of the opposition parties has made any approaches to even discuss such a move.
“ANP has not taken any decision or given any proposal in this regard,” he added.
Commenting on the statement made by Zahid Khan, Senator Sarfaraz Bugti maintained Senate chairman was selected with the consensus of all political parties. The purpose of awarding Sanjrani with the chairmanship was to ensure the representation of economically-backward Balochistan and his performance has been remarkable so far, he added.
PTI Senator Faisal Javed maintained that the opposition will not succeed in removing Sanjrani. “They only agree to the points where they can save each other by covering up their corruption. [PPP and PML-N] are only trying to unite for their own interests. PTI stands by Sadiq Sanjrani,” he added.
PM’s special assistant Ali Awan said that the PPP and PML-N should save their party leaders before talking about the Senate chairman. “We have complete confidence in the chairman…we got him elected for the betterment of Balochistan.”
Parliamentary Secretary Tashfeen Safdar maintained that the decision to elect the chairman was taken by the government and the opposition will not succeed in suppressing the voice of Balochistan. “All efforts in this regard will be foiled.”
MQM’s parliamentarians Khushbakht Shujaat and Iqbal Muhammad Ali maintained that those who voted in Sanjrani could not be expected to remove him. “We believe that their alliance will not prove effective. Removing the chairman would not be easy because there is no solid reason for it,” they said.
BNP-Mengal Senator Jamaldini said that the political situation did not warrant such a move at this time as it would not send a good message to the people of Balochistan. “Acting against the chairman over our internal differences would only disappoint the people of Balochistan,” he said.