ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday threw his full weight behind Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani who faces a no-trust motion by the combined opposition.
The development came as the Opposition’s Rahbar Committee nominated National Party’s Hasil Bizenjo for the post of the Senate chairman.
“The no-confidence motion submitted against you [Sanjrani] is based on malicious intent. United, we will defeat this move,” said the prime minister during a meeting with Sanjrani at the PM Office.
Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Azam Swati, Minister for Defence Pervez Khattak and Leader of the House in Senate Shibli Faraz were present.
The prime minister and the Senate chairman discussed the no-confidence motion and the steps being taken by the government in this regard.
PM Imran assured Sanjrani of all-out support.
Swati and Faraz briefed the PM on the numbers game in the Senate.
PM Imran directed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senators to contact different parties, saying the PTI will unite with all like-minded parties to defeat the no-confidence motion against Sanjrani.
Earlier on Thursday, the Rahbar Committee agreed on the name of Senator Hasil Bizenjo for the post of the Senate chairman.
Talking to the media after chairing a meeting, Rahbar Committee Convener Akram Khan Durrani said, “All opposition parties will collect votes for Hasil Bizenjo. The government is bound to call a Senate meeting within at least seven days or maximum 14 days to discuss the no-confidence motion submitted against the Senate chairman.”
This was the second meeting. In the first meeting on July 5, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl leader Durrani was nominated as the convener of the committee for two months. It was also decided that the name for the post of the Senate chairman would be announced on July 11 (Thursday).
Eleven members of nine opposition parties participated in the meeting, including Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Farhatullah Babar, Nayyar Bukhari, Usman Kakar and Ahsan Iqbal, among others. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had suggested the name of Hasil Bizenjo for the post of Senate chairman.
Talking to Express, Bizenjo said, “The opposition has trusted me. It is of great honour for me. I will meet the expectations of the opposition. Winning and losing happens in election. I have already won due to the trust shown in me. After my nomination, I will get a lot of votes from Balochistan.”
To a question, he said, “We are the type of people who contest elections. The house that does not vote, we knock on its door.”
PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal said, “The government does not have complete numbers [in the Senate] which is why it will not succeed. The government is trying its best to avoid calling a Senate meeting.”
Hasil Bizenjo’s brother Tahir Bizenjo said, “PML-N has shown magnanimity.”
Other opposition leaders were of the view that they would not allow anyone to play with democracy or the Constitution. “PML-N and the Pakistan Peoples Party will unite to vote for the Senate chairman.”
Awami National Party leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain said, “Of its three names, the PML-N forwarded Hasil Bizenjo’s.
“Bizenjo is a joint candidate, who is an experienced politician and can face difficulties with courage.”
The opposition parties had submitted a no-trust motion against Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani with the Upper House secretary on Tuesday.
“For the first time a no-trust motion has been submitted against a Senate chairman. We will take the procedure further from here as per the law,” said Senate Secretary Mohammad Anwar.
Separately, talking to the media after attending a seminar on the occasion of the death anniversary of Sir Aga Khan III, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan termed the no trust motion a political adventure, saying it would be defeated by the PTI and its allies.
Firdous said, “The country cannot afford any political adventure due to its political and economic situation.”
She said the opposition had opted for the same tactics to create hurdles in the passage of the national budget but failed due to the prudent polices of the government, adding that they would meet the same fate in their effort to remove the Senate chairman.
“PM Imran is the first leader who challenged the prevailing status quo and from the very first day after assuming power has been working on institutional reforms to strengthen them,” said Fridous, adding that state institutions were supreme in civilised democracies but former rulers had made every attempt to weaken them by making them subservient to their will.