Siraj supports Rabbani as Senate Chairman

The writer is a member of staff

The writer is a member of staff

57 Senators will back the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate for the position of Senate chairmanship who will be decided by the party's supremo Nawaz Sharif, a party official told on Saturday. "We want a strong person for the slot of chairman who must be honest to the country as well as to the democratic system", he said.

Also, the remaining eight Independent (Fata) senators, after the one won over by the PTI, are said to be too vulnerable to money or/and persuasions of the "powers-that-be". He said that the performance and achievement of Raza Rabbani was the best proof of his eligibility for the top slot in the upper house.

Hidayatullah added that they were in contact with two other senators from Fata to get their support to strengthen their position.

On the face of it, the PML-N has the numbers to elect its own Senate chairperson and deputy chairperson.

However, most likely two votes would not be available for the PML-N on election day.

Responding to a question about reports that the party had nominated Salim Mandviwala for the Senate chairman office, he smilingly replied, "Insha Allah".

The PML-N leaders also discussed the issue of alleged dual nationality of the party's three senators-elect whose victory notification was withheld by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on the directive of the Supreme Court. He will be accompanied by Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair and PML-N Senator Saleem Zia.

"It is an essential principle to make the elections procedure cleaner", he said.

In a statement here, he said that the re-election of Raza Rabbani as Chairman Senate would bring to an end the present political crisis and state of uncertainty.

Later talking to Dawn, Mr Chaudhry said the main objective of the PTI was to prevent the top Senate offices from falling into the lap of the PML-N.

Earlier today, PPP's Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had said that a Senate chairman from Balochistan 'sounded like a good idea'.

The four votes of MQM-P have become key for the Senate chairman elections and even the Pakistan People's Party who is at odds with MQM reached out to the party on Thursday night to lure them for the votes of party lawmakers for their Senate chairman candidate. He said Mr Achakzai, Maulana Fazl and Mr Bizenjo were with the party and they had the required numbers in the Senate.

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