In an unprecedented move, the joint opposition is highly likely to defeat the alliance of the ruling party in a no-confidence vote against Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani on August 1. This will be a big development and may further stir the already charged political environment in Pakistan.
Upon request of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, President Arif Alvi has convened a Senate session tomorrow for no-trust vote which will remove Sadiq Sanjrani from the post of chairman of the Upper House as numerically the opposition is at an advantageous position.
At the time when Sanjrani was elected a senator he was a member of an independent group. Then, the same group formed the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and later joined the ruling party’s coalition.
Leader of the Opposition in Senate, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N), Senator Raja Zafarul Haq had informed the Senate secretariat that the no-trust motion was in accordance with the constitution and Sadiq Sanjrani could not chair this session. The decision to remove the chairman was taken at the multiple party conference of the opposition. Senator Hasil Bizenjo had earlier said 55 opposition senators had participated in the meeting and the number was enough to de-seat the Senate chairman.
Sanjrani will have to quit the post if he is voted out by majority number of Senate members, 52.
The Senate has 103 seats and the opposition has support of 61 senators and the ruling party’s alliance enjoys backing of 40 members. So, ostensibly it goes without saying that Sanjrani is going to be replaced by a Senator elected by the opposition parties.
Among the opposition parties, the PML-N has 29 senators, PPP has 21, National Party has four, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) has four, Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) has two and Awami National Party has one member in the Senate.
The government alliance includes PTI’s 14 members, MQM’s five, BAP’s two, Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) and PML-Functional’s one senator each and seven senators from the tribal districts.
The Jamaat-e-Islami has adopted an independent policy as neither it participated in the opposition parties meeting nor it supports the government, therefore its two votes are yet undecided.
The Senate has multiple powers including enforcing parliamentary bills into law. Elections of half of the Senate members are held every three years for a term of six years. The no-confidence motion will further aggravate the confrontation between opposition and government as the former’s domination in the Upper House stalls bills from getting passed.