–PPP suspects nine PML-N senators, one each from JUI-F, ANP voted to foil bid against Sanjrani
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leadership has completed its initial assessment and the party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has been briefed that enough evidence was available to suggest that two of its lawmakers from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) might have violated the party guidelines.
Both major opposition parties, in wake of the failure of their joint bid to remove Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, have formed separate fact-finding committees to identify the rebels among their cadres and suggest a punitive action against them. However, the exercise looks to be a face-saving tactic as background interviews with the members of the committees revealed that they had “very little hope” for success.
Moreover, the timeline given to both the committees suggests that the move is a face-caving exercise and there no solid hope for a tangible outcome over the issue.
The PPP’s committee has convened its first meeting on August 6 in Islamabad. An official announcement by the party says that the “fact-finding committee” will meet on Tuesday in Islamabad to “begin investigations in whether and who among party senators defected in the secret ballot in the last week no-confidence move against the Senate chairman”.
Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gillani is the convener of the PPP committee, having representation from all the provinces with no sitting senator in it.
A committee member said they would discuss their terms of reference (ToRs) and finalise a methodology to probe the matter that had brought embarrassment to the joint opposition.
Sources said that the mistrust between the two parties had been there since the day they had submitted the no-trust motion against Sanjrani last week.
In one of the meetings, a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senator sought a clarification from the PPP leaders over a reported meeting between former president Asif Zardari, who is in National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) custody, and a top property tycoon a night before the voting to discuss as to how the move could be thwarted. The PPP leaders, however, had categorically refuted these reports, sources added.
Similarly, after several complaints against the PML-N senators for not turning up in the opposition meetings, PPP’s Parliamentary Leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman finally had to approach Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif through former speaker Ayaz Sadiq, asking him to ensure their attendance, sources said.
PPP IDENTIFIES TWO ‘PROBABLE DEFECTORS’:
A well-placed source in the party told Pakistan Today on the condition of anonymity that the party believed that Senators Khanzada Khan and Rubina Khalid may have been involved in violation of the party’s instructions.
“We know that Khanzada Khan is close to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). He did not even submit an application to the party for candidature of his son in the recent elections. Rather, he sought a party ticket from the PTI for his son,” the source said.
Asked about Rubina Khalid, the source said that the party believes that Rubina might have acted under pressure from NAB.
“We know that Rubina Khalid is under pressure of NAB. She could easily have been crumbled under NAB pressure,” the source added.
Asked what action the party leadership would take against its two senators, the source said that the probe was at a premature stage and any action would be taken after a final report is submitted to the party chief.
Asked whether the party was sure that no other party lawmaker had defected, the source said that the initial probe had found all others as ‘clean’.
The source also debunked the claims that Senator Nauman Islam Shaikh and others were found ‘clean’ and social media accusations looked to be a part of a well thought out campaign to malign the party with vicious intent.
However, the source added, any conclusion would be made after the final report is submitted.
Despite repeated calls and messages sent, both Khanzada Khan and Rubina Khalid did not respond to give their version over the suspicion expressed by the PPP leader.
PPP BELIEVES 9 PML-N SENATORS VIOLATED PARTY DECISIONS:
The source said that the party believed that the no-confidence motion against the Senate chairman had been defeated due to the major defectors from the PML-N.
“Under our initial assessment, at least nine PML-N senators and one each from the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Awami National Party (ANP) defected on votes,” the sources said.
“We have enough information that Senator Sitara Ayaz from ANP did not vote according to the party guidelines while a senator from JUI-F also violated the party’s stance,” the source added.