Coalition partners in race for chairmanships of lucrative Senate committees


The race for the chairmanship of lucrative and influential Senate standing committees is on among collation partners.
All 33 standing and functional committees of the Upper House of the parliament are likely to be reconstituted next week.
In the past, only those standing or functional committees were usually dissolved whose chairmen retired and chairmen of other standing committees remained intact with inclusion of new members in place of retired Senators.
However, with the retirement of 50 senators and election of 54 new lawmakers, all committees have been dissolved. Chairmanships of committees are granted to coalition partners on the basis of their proportionate strength in the House; however, per formula decided among the political parties at the time of coalition government took charge of the affairs of the state, eac h coalition partner was awarded with an extra chairmanship of standing committee than the due share.
Currently, ANP, MQM, PML and JUI-F have 12, seven, four and eight senators in the Upper House of parliament. Per the decided formula among the political parties, the ANP, MQM, PML and JUI-F may get chairmanship of four, three, two and two committees, respectively.
The ANP has demanded chairmanship of 10 committees for its members, while Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) (an invisible coalition partner) sought five committees for its lawmakers. Sources said that the strongest stance was of ANP which claimed to be the second largest coalition partner with 12 senators in the House.
“ANP seems inclined not compromise less than 10 committees,” sources said.
“The ANP is also of the view that the PPP had reserved all important offices including presidency, premiership, chairman, deputy chairman, leader of the house and chief whip in Senate and speaker and deputy speaker in National Assembly,” the sources added. When contacted, MQM and the PML-Q turned down any demand for the committees, however, both the parties elaborated that formula for the provision of chairmanships of standing committee at the time of creation of this government was set at one committee against four members of Senate.