KARACHI: Just a week after Rehman Malik resigned as a senator, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has decided to again put up his name for a seat in the upper legislative house.
The prime minister’s adviser on interior affairs had tendered his resignation from the senate on July 10. The Supreme Court had earlier suspended his senate membership for holding dual citizenships.
Now the ruling party wants to get Malik re-elected as a senator from Sindh. He is expected to submit his papers on a seat reserved for “technocrats”, declaring only his Pakistani nationality.
Sources in the PPP told The Express Tribune that President Asif Ali Zardari, also the co-chairman of the party, has convened a meeting of the party’s Sindh Assembly lawmakers on Thursday (today) in Karachi. All party members would be taken into confidence over the issue, they said.
To get Malik elected unopposed, the ruling party has reportedly not only started talks with its coalition partners in the Sindh government, but has also contacted its – supposedly – bitter rival Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim, the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q Likeminded) chief.
A PPP minister, requesting anonymity, told The Express Tribune that Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Awami National Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Functional have assured the ruling party of their support. “We have asked Rahim not to field a candidate on the senate seat, so that we can get Malik elected unopposed,” he added.
He also said that the Likeminded leader had assured Malik of his support.
PML-Q leader Gaffar Qureshi, also a former senator, confirmed that the ruling party had approached his leadership to support the adviser for the senate seat. “We are not in a position to win the election, but the party is yet to decide on what to do in this situation,” he added.
The election commission has announced that the voting for the vacant senate seat will be held on August 8 in the Sindh Assembly building. According to the schedule, the candidates can submit their nomination papers from July 19 to 20, while the election commission will scrutinise the papers on July 23 and 24. The withdrawal date has been fixed on July 31 and the final list of candidates will be published on August 1.
Malik, along with the senior party leaders, is expected to file his nomination papers at the election commission office after the meeting of PPP lawmakers with President Zardari in Karachi on Thursday.
The party’s decision is however not expected to sit well with its provincial leaders. Many PPP Sindh members have expressed strong reservations and have been quite vocal against Malik at the party’s meetings. Some have even demanded a ban on his entry in Sindh as they believe that Malik’s role in Karachi is “dubious”.
One PPP lawmaker said that Malik had been elected as senator from Sindh, but was working against the wishes of the people living in Sindh.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2012.