PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari hosted a luncheon for opposition senators on Wednesday, as arrangements reached their final stages for tomorrow's Senate session during which voting for the no-trust motion against Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani would be held.
More than 50 senators from the PPP, PML-N, National Party, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, Awami National Party, and former Fata attended the lunch hosted in the Senate's banquet hall, following which Bilawal told reporters that Sanjrani still had time to voluntarily resign if he wanted.
"If Sadiq Sanjrani sahib has decided to resign even now, it will be a good decision," he said, adding that the opposition had gathered enough numbers to deseat the Senate chairman.
"It would have been good if the Senate chairman had resigned, otherwise he is going tomorrow anyway."
The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had announced on Tuesday that the voting for the no-trust motion against Sanjrani would be held on August 1.
Leader of the House in the Senate Syed Shibli Faraz had also made it clear that the government had no intention of using delaying tactics, adding that the agenda of the day would be circulated among the senators on Wednesday.
Faraz today rubbished the talk of Sanjrani resigning, saying he will fight the election "till the last man [and] the last moment".
Stressing that the government had trust in the Senate chairman, Faraz accused opposition members of spreading the rumours regarding Sanjrani's resignation.
Sources told DawnNewsTV that Sanjrani, after consultation with party and government members, had decided not to resign and instead contest the resolution.
Meanwhile, the opposition’s joint candidate for Senate chairman, Mir Hasil Bizenjo, while speaking to reporters said that he had already won "the day my name was put forward".
Claiming to have the support of 65 opposition senators, Bizenjo too suggested Sanjrani to resign. "It would be better for him as well as for us," he said.
PPP's Khursheed Shah warned the government to "stay away from horse-trading" in the matter of the no-trust vote.
"Horse-trading has prevented the country from progressing," the senior politician said, adding that opposition members were "respectable and honourable".
Fazl calls on Shahbaz
Also on Wednesday, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman called on Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif at his Islamabad residence.
During the meeting, Fazl and Shahbaz discussed the no-trust move against the Senate chairman and the future strategy of the opposition.
The two leaders also discussed the overall political and economic situation of the country.
Shahbaz chaired a meeting of the coordination committee of PML-N senators earlier today.
"The opposition is united," the PML-N president was quoting as saying at the gathering.
He said the election for a new Senate chairman will be a "victory for democracy and the Constitution".
"The opposition holds a clear majority in the Senate chairman's election," Shahbaz said, adding that there was "no hurdle" in the way of an opposition victory according to the numbers.
The meetings between opposition members come as the Senate secretariat finalised arrangements for the vote on the no-trust motion against the Senate chairman and Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwalla.
Senate Secretary Mohammad Anwar dispelled the impression that the voting process could be delayed, saying the resolutions against Sanjrani and Mandviwalla will be presented, and the voting will conclude, tomorrow.
He dismissed the idea that seven days were required for the voting process to be completed.