Opp names Hasil Bizenjo for Senate chairman slot

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The joint opposition’s Rehbar Committee on Thursday named Hasil Bizenjo as candidate for the post of Senate chairman.

The decision was taken at a committee meeting held under the chairmanship of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl leader Akram Khan Durrani in Islamabad. The meeting was attended by senior members of opposition parties, including Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Farhatullah Babar, Nayyar Bukhari, Usman Kakar and Ahsan Iqbal.

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The nomination by the opposition comes as efforts to replace incumbent chair Sadiq Sanjrani gain momentum.

Ousted prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif also expressed confidence in nominating the National Party (NP) leader. Sources said that Nawaz Sharif has suggested Bizenjo’s name in order to procure favour from Balochistan. Bizenjo has served as federal minister for ports and shipping.

“I appreciate that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has placed his trust in me,” Bizenjo told PML-N leaders at a meeting at the opposition leader’s chambers in Parliament. “I am extremely grateful for being nominated by the PML-N,” he said. “I hope to deliver on the expectations of the opposition parties,” he added.

Later, while talking to media, he said, “Winning and losing may be part of the election process, but I already feel like I’ve won with the faith placed in me.” “After my nomination, I will get a lot of votes from Balochistan,” he claimed. To a question that if he would seek support from the government coalition, Bizenjo said, “We are politicians: we knock on all doors even when we expect no response.”

Opposition parties had on Tuesday submitted a no-trust motion against Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani to the secretary of the Upper House and demanded his removal under Rule 12 (Removal of Chairman or Deputy Chairman) of the Rules of Procedure in Conduct of Business in the Senate. “For the first time, a no-trust motion against a Senate chairman has been submitted. We will take the procedure further from here as per the law,” Secretary Senate Mohammad Anwar said.

The 11-member Rehbar committee had last met on July 5 but failed to reach a consensus on a joint candidate. Durrani had said that a final name will be announced on July 11 after further deliberations.

The opposition took the decision to remove the chairman of the Upper House at an all-parties conference on June 26. The move is meant to be the first step towards mounting pressure on the PTI-led coalition government.

After the submission of the resolution, Senate Chairman Sanjrani had declared that he will not step down voluntarily. “A motion of no-confidence is a democratic right,” he had remarked. “I have no reservations about the resolution being submitted,” he said. “I am still here and doing my job,” he had added.