ISLAMABAD: All speculations about the Senate’s new chairman ended on Saturday when the ruling coalition unanimously named Nayyar Hussain Bukhari of the Pakistan People’s Party for the slot.
The coalition sprang a surprise by naming a PPP man for the deputy chairman’s slot, too.
The nomination of Sabir Baloch, who represents Balochistan, indicated that although coalition partners might have coveted the office, they authorised President Asif Ali Zadrai to choose anyone.
The two leaders will be elected on Monday when 50 fresh senators will step into the upper house and an equal number will bow out.
Nayyar Hussain Bukhari is at present Leader of House in the Senate.
The nomination of Mr Bukhari and Mr Baloch was made at an important meeting of allied parties’ heads in the presidency on Saturday. The meeting was jointly chaired by President Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani.
The President’s spokesman, Farhatullah Babar, said: “The President welcomed the allied parties to the meeting and conveyed that the PPP wants to nominate Senator Nayyar Hussain Bukhari for the slot of chairman and Senator Sabir Baloch from Balochistan for the slot of deputy chairman.”
He said all the allied parties endorsed the Mr Zardari’s suggestion. “They also felicitated Nayyar Bukhari, who was present in the meeting, on his nomination for the office of Senate chairman,” he said.
The meeting was attended by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Mushahid Hussain Syed of PML-Q, Asfandyar Wali Khan and Afrasiab Khattak of the Awami National Party, Babar Khan Ghauri and Tahir Mashhadi of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Mir Israrullah Zehri, Munir Khan Orakzai and Engineer Shaukatullah.
Syed Khurshid Shah, Nayyar Hussain Bukhari, Raja Pervez Ashraf and Farhatullah Babar also attended the meeting.
A source in the PPP said Babar Awan, Raza Rabbani and Aitzaz Ahsan were contenders from the chairman’s slot, too. According to political analysts, both Mr Bukhari and Mr Baloch were loyalists and it has been seen many times in the Parliament House that Mr Baloch scolded even his party men for pinpointing mistakes of the government.
Mystery still surrounds Mr Naek’s removal from the Senate chairmanship. He had represented Mr Zardari in a number of court cases when he was behind bars.