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Ruling coalition moves to rescue Senate chairman

ISLAMABAD: A delegation of parliamentarians of the ruling alliance on Friday met Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani and expressed solidarity with him in the wake of the recent decision taken by the opposition parties at a multi-party conference to remove him from his office.

Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Dr Fehmida Mirza, who led the delegation comprising Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Pakistan Muslim League-Q, Balochistan Awami Party and the Grand Democratic Alliance lawmakers, said the purpose of their meeting was to support Mr Sanjrani.

After the meeting held in the Senate chairman’s chamber, Dr Mirza told the media that Mr Sanjrani was managing the upper house of the parliament in a “totally neutral and impartial manner, which is the role of Senate chairman or the Speaker of National Assembly”.

Opposition parties will face flat back bump in their struggle, says Firdous

“As a matter of fact, the members of treasury benches had the reservations that Mr Sanjrani was giving more time to the opposition members in the upper house,” she said. She stopped short of giving the impression that her delegation was complaining against time being allocated to the opposition members. “It was the discretion of the person in the chair to allocate time to parliamentarians,” she remarked.

Meanwhile, Senator Sanjrani said he had managed the upper house in a completely balanced manner. “The chairman knows conditions on the floor of the house and time is allocated to the members accordingly,” he said.

Asked about the recent announcement by the opposition parties regarding his removal, the Senate chairman declined to comment.

Mr Sanjrani was elected chairman of the Senate after obtaining 57 votes against 46 secured by his opponent, Senator Raja Zafarul Haq of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

The seat had fallen vacant after the completion of the term of Senator Raza Rabbani of the Pakistan Peoples Party in March 2018.

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan in her statement after the federal budget’s approval by the National Assembly said the opposition had been pinned down in the first contest, “as they had announced that the government would fail to get the budget passed”.

Using wrestling terms multiple times in her statement, Dr Awan said the opposition parties would face ‘a flat back bump’ in their struggle to remove the Senate chairman, too.

She was of the opinion that no-confidence move against the chairman was like an “attack on the federation”.

“Government will adopt all constitutional measures to protect the Senate chairman from being removed,” she said.

The opposition parties should “extend a helping hand to the government to resolve economic crisis”, she said, adding that the opposition should not politicise the economy – “there are many more venues for political ventures”.

She also said the deadline of asset declaration amnesty scheme was June 30 and contradicted reports that the deadline had been extended.

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