With two of Senate’s top slots being filled after the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed Sadiq Sanjrani and Saleem Mandiwalla were elected as the chairman and deputy chairman respectively on Monday, a new tussle in the upper house of the parliament has started to emerge as both the parties are betting for different candidates for Senate’s leader of the opposition.
According to sources, former Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, Senator Sherry Rehman will be running for the position with PPP’s support, while the PTI will be backing Senator Azam Swati for the leader of opposition in Senate.
Sherry Rehman enjoys PPP’s full support as she was posted ambassador to the US during PPP’s last tenure.
On the other hand, Azam Swati enjoys PTI’s support. He has also served in various positions in the Senate.
Earlier on Monday, marred with political tribulations, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) faced a major setback when the PPP-led opposition alliance easily defeated the dominant ruling clique and clinched the top slots of the Senate chairman and deputy chairman.
In the polling, independent Senator Sadiq Sanjrani, who was favoured by independent senators from Balochistan, PPP, PTI, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM-P) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), bagged 57 votes against PML-N’s Raja Zafarul Haq’s 46 votes, who was supported by PML-N allies — PkMAP and National Party (NP), PML-Functional and Awami National Party (ANP).
Following the victory of Sanjrani, the election for the deputy chairman was held in which PML-N backed Usman Khan Kakar was pitched against PPP’s Saleem Mandviwalla. This came as yet another blow to the PML-N as Mandviwalla too defeated PKMAP’s Usman Kakar by securing 54 votes against Kakar’s 42 votes.