Luncheon meeting: Nawaz to host political parties’ heads today

Will ask PPP to forge consensus on its proposed candidate, Raza Rabbani, for Senate’s top slot


Abdul Manan March 10, 2015
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has invited heads of all political parties on Tuesday to the PM House for a lunch where he will formally ask Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to forge consensus on its proposed candidate, Senator Raza Rabbani, for the Senate’s top slot, sources told The Express Tribune.

Sources said the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) decided to concede to the PPP’s superiority in the Senate and support consensus candidates for the top jobs in the upper house of parliament after it failed to muster support of smaller groups, which have presented a long list of demands.

They said the meeting will be just a face-saving exercise for the federal government as the PPP-led opposition, joined by MQM, has succeeded in gaining the numerical upper hand. However, it has left the position of Senate’s deputy chairman at the disposal of government to save it from embarrassment.

According to well-placed sources, PM will put Rabbani’s name before heads of all political parties and it will be adopted in case of a consensus. The PM will ask other political parties to propose name for deputy chairperson, which the PML-N recommends, should be from small provinces like Balochistan.

Sources said the deputy chairman will possibly be from PML-N’s allied party.

Earlier, the PPP during its contacts with political parties on Monday proposed the name of Senator Raza Rabbani as its candidate for the coveted post.  The PPP’s Co-Chairperson Zardari had dropped names of Farooq H Naek and Barrister Aitezaz Ahsan, apparently in view of their ‘good legal practice’.

Currently the PML-N’s alliance commands the support of 33 senators; the PPP has the backing of 41 senators, and PTI alliance has 7 senators. Apart from it the MQM has eight and the JUI-F has four senators individually.

As the PTI alliance has announced it will not support any of the two parties, both the parties now need support of 46 senators to get their men installed as Senate’s chairperson and deputy chairperson.

Shahbaz telephones Altaf

The PML-N leader and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif made a phone call to the MQM chief Altaf Hussain and discussed Senate elections.

The MQM Rabita Committee member Wasay Jalil told The Express Tribune that ‘ice between the two parties is melting’, and said a smooth and good conversation had taken place between the two leaders.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2015.

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