ISLAMABAD: The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has claimed that the no-trust motion against Senate Chairman Mohammad Sadiq Sanjrani is bound to be defeated.
“We are not holding meetings with the leaders of opposition parties to seek their support, but to warn them against setting a wrong precedence for short-term political gains,” Leader of the House in the Senate Syed Shibli Faraz told Dawn on Thursday.
When pointed out that the opposition had the support of over 60 senators, far more than the 53 required to get the no-trust motion passed, he said that “theoretically it is correct, but practically it would be different as members would vote in line with their conscience in a secret ballot”.
In reply to a question, he said contacts with the opposition would continue, but the decision to meet Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari was being reconsidered following his allegation of horse-trading which amounted to insulting the entire house, including the senators belonging to his own party.
Mr Faraz said the PTI was not trying to lure anybody but was in contact with some senators belonging to the opposition who had reservations over the no-trust motion against a chairman who was running the house in a balanced and impartial manner.
He said no-confidence motion had never been moved against any Senate chairman in the country’s parliamentary history and the concept of continuity must be preserved. “It is in this context we are meeting political leaders,” he added.
The PTI leader warned that if the motion was not withdrawn, it would continue to happen after interval of months in the days ahead and cause harm to the upper house of parliament having equal representation of the federating units. He said the Senate secretariat would shortly write a letter to the president, asking him to nominate someone from within the Senate to preside over the upcoming session scheduled for August 1. He said three names would be sent to the president who would finalise one of them.
Rule 12 (5) of the rules of procedure and conduct of business in the Senate reads: “The Chairman or, as the case may be, the Deputy Chairman shall not preside over a sitting of the Senate in which a resolution for his removal from office is fixed for consideration.”
When contacted, PPP’s parliamentary leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman rejected Mr Faraz’s claim and said: “The government benches now know that they are defeated. There is no point trying to persuade any members of the opposition to shed their party loyalties to cast a vote against their party candidate.”
She said the PPP had already secured all its 21 members. “I am confident other opposition members will vote with integrity with the parties that have brought them here. This constant drumbeat of allegation that senators will switch sides amounts to open promotion of horse trading.”
Ms Rehman said the government should realise that by constantly creating hurdles both in procedures and politics it was exposing its own desperation to win by hook or by crook. “It [government] seems least concerned about Senate’s honour, but more pushed about scoring points. They need to sit back and let the will of the majority prevail,” she advised.
Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2019