Raza Rabbani… Who else?

  • As PPP and its allies emerge strong in Senate with PPP’s Raza Rabbani as their candidate for Senate chair, PM invites political leaders for meeting today to discuss fate of Senate top seats


While Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and its allies have formally nominated Senator Raza Rabbani for chairmanship of the Upper House of Parliament, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has invited leaders of all political parties for a meeting today (Tuesday) at Prime Minister’s House to discuss matters pertaining to the election for Senate top slots.

In a meeting held at Zardari House in Islamabad on Monday, PPP and opposition parties including the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Awami National Party (ANP), Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Pakistan Muslim League – Functional (PML-F) and Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid (PML-Q) agreed to nominate Rabbani as joint candidate for chairmanship of Senate.

Senators from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) also attended the meeting while Qayyum Soomro and Asfand Yar Wali played critical role in bringing JUI-F leader Fazlur Rehman to terms.

ANP leader Asfand Yar Wali Khan announced on this occasion that candidate for deputy chairmanship will be taken from Balochistan.

According to a news channel, the JUI-F leader was offered the deputy chairman’s seat by Zardari at the meeting.

MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar said on this occasion that the coalition must continue in the future as well. He also informed reporters that the quota between urban and rural areas of Sindh would be revised and local bodies elections would soon be held according to the commitments given by PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari.


Moreover, MQM chief Altaf Hussain and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari spoke over telephone early Monday to discuss the election for Senate top seats while PPP leader Raza Rabbani also met the MQM’s representatives and discussed the overall political situation.

According to a press release from MQM, both leaders also discussed Pakistan’s political situation and other matters of mutual interest.

The prevailing conditions in Pakistan make it essential to promote politics of understanding and an environment of unity and solidarity, the press statement quoted former president Zardari as saying. Agreeing with the PPP co-chairman, Hussain thanked Zardari for cooperation in the Senate elections.

Hussain said it was the duty of all political parties to respect the mandates of other parties and, if they fulfil the merit, they should be given their due role in governance and administration so that they are able to serve the people.

The MQM chief said that conflicts are a part of the democratic process, but it is critical that future decisions are made keeping in mind the principle of “live and let live”.

Both these parties were at daggers drawn a few weeks back but made “uneasy peace” to unceremoniously enter a “marriage of convenience” only to secure seats without having to wait until Senate elections.


The occupation of top Senate seats could strengthen the PPP ranks with five senators of JUI-F apart of the votes of its allies MQM with eight seats, ANP with seven seats, PML-Q having four seats and BNP Awami with two of its men in the Upper House.

The coalition of these opposition groups in Senate coupled with 27 senators of the PPP could reach to the golden number of 53, desirable to win the chairman and deputy chairman election in the upper house.

The ruling PML-N, which has boosted its seats to 26 in the Upper House in recent Senate polls has also intensified contacts to win the coveted Senate office.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been forced to repair his severed links with Q-League and reach out to Baloch nationalist leader Akhtar Mengal.

Earlier on Monday, a government team comprising Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid and Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique met leaders of MQM and Awami National Party (ANP) in a bid to win their support for the election.

It is being said that the ruling party could also offer the deputy chairman’s slot to Fazlur Rehman to counter PPP’s move and the prime minister’s meeting with political leaders will be decisive in this regard.


According to sources, PML-N has also contacted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shafqat Mehmood seeking an alliance in the Upper House.

However, PTI, maintaining its indifferent streak, has decided not to become a part of the “politics of settlement” by attending the luncheon hosted by the premier.

PTI chairman’s spokesperson Umar Sarfaraz Cheema said that neither his party was extended an invitation nor will any of the party leaders attend the luncheon, even if they are invited in meantime. Imran Khan will be visiting Swat on Tuesday as per his pre-decided schedule, he added.


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