ISLAMABAD: Opposition parties in the Senate on Tuesday submitted a no-confidence resolution against Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani along with a requisition to convene a session of the Upper House.
The resolution was submitted after a meeting between members of the opposition in the chamber of Leader of the Opposition in Senate Raja Zafarul Haq, who chaired the meeting.
The resolution – which demands the removal of the Senate chairman under Rule 12 (Removal of Chairman or Deputy Chairman) of the Rules of Procedure in Conduct of Business in the Senate – was drawn up by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Sherry Rehman and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Javed Abbasi, and signed by members of the opposition. A requisition was also submitted, asking for a session to be called so that the resolution can be moved in the Senate.
The meeting was attended by Senators Sherry Rehman, Sassui Palijo, Ashok Kumar, Pervez Rashid, Musadiq Malik, Mushahidullah Khan and Usman Kakar, among others.
Leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami did not attend the meeting. During the meeting, Senator Rehman briefed the opposition leaders on the rules pertaining to the removal of the Senate chairman.
A decision to remove the chairman of the Upper House was made at a multi-party conference on June 26. The move is meant to be the first step towards mounting pressure on the PTI-led coalition government.
The opposition is expected to announce the name of another candidate for the Senate chairman during a meeting of the opposition’s anti-government ‘Rehbar Committee’ on July 11.
Meanwhile, Sanjrani told reporters during an informal interaction that he would not be stepping down voluntarily. “A motion of no-confidence is a democratic right,” he remarked. “I have no reservations about the resolution being submitted,” he said. “I am still here and doing my job.”
Sanjrani made the decision after assurance of support from the government’s allied parties.
Independent senators from the tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) – also signaled their resolve to back the Senate chairman to offset the opposition’s no-trust motion. The government’s allies reportedly advised Sanjrani not to step down from his post.
Opposition parties claim to have the required majority in the Upper House for the passage of the resolution against the chairman.
The recently formed Rahbar Committee is made up of nine opposition parties and held its first meeting in Islamabad. In the first meeting, it took an oath of confidentiality and formulated a policy to run the anti-government movement.
The Rahbar Committee also gave approval to elect a new Senate chairman from the party with the majority, the PML-N.
The PML-N was considering the names of Raja Zafarul Haq and Musadik Malik along with two others for the post of Senate chairman.
It was learnt that during a session it was decided that the PML-N would leave the position of opposition leader after the chairmanship of 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,” said Senate Secretary Mohammad Anwar.
“Senate Secretariat is looking in the matter. The authority to convene the session on the requisition of the opposition rests with the Senate. The session is bound to be convened in 14 days,” added the secretary.
“Only on the day, when this resolution will be tabled, the Senate chairman will not be able to chair the session.”
On July 5, JUI-F leader Akram Khan Durrani had told the media that the opposition parties had formally decided to de-seat the Senate chairman. He had announced that the opposition parties would observe the anniversary of the 2018 general election on July 25 as a ‘black day’ and stage protest rallies at a provincial level.