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Sunday April 21, 2024

Speculation swirls around PPP nominee for Senate chief as Gilani takes oath as MNA

Confusion reigns over who will be the PPP’s nominee for the Senate chairman slot

By Our Correspondent
March 01, 2024
Former prime minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani is seen along with his sons at the floor of the National Assembly. — x/Fiza_Gilani
Former prime minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani is seen along with his sons at the floor of the National Assembly. — x/Fiza_Gilani

ISLAMABAD: With former prime minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani taking oath as a member of the National Assembly after resigning from the Senate, confusion reigns over who will be the PPP’s nominee for the Senate chairman slot. Gilani was strongly pegged to be the PPP’s main contender for the chairman slot.

According to PPP insiders, the answer to this question lies solely with former president Asif Ali Zardari. As far as rumours go, there is talk in Islamabad that a dark horse may enter the Senate chairman race. When asked, PPP insiders did not say anything about the rumours but said there was an agreement with the PML-N that the Senate chairman Senate would be from the PPP. The priority of the party is the presidential election, say PPP sources, and the issue of the Senate chairman would be decided later.

In a parallel move, the head of the central election cell of the PPP, Senator Taj Haider, has written a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, asking the ECP to hold elections for the eleven vacant seats of the Senate as soon as possible.

“We have to bring to your attention that 11 (eleven) seats of the Senate of Pakistan are vacant at present so the Senate is therefore incomplete and the shortage in numbers is very high at almost 10 percent”, said the letter.

Senator Taj Haider has also stated in the letter that Section 127 of the Election Act deals with by-elections on vacant seats of the Senate while Section 107 of the same act lays down the procedure of all elections to the Senate and does not allow more than one day for completing each step of the election schedule. Senator Haider concluded by asking the CEC to: “You are requested to order that elections on the above mentioned vacant seats of the Senate should be held as early as possible”.

Speaking to The News, Senator Taj Haider said that under clause 4 of Article 223, if a member is elected to another house then the first seat h/she holds shall become vacant.

Article 223(4) states: “Subject to clause (2) if a member of either House or of a Provincial Assembly becomes a candidate for a second seat which, in accordance with clause (1), he may not hold concurrently with his first seat, then his first seat shall become vacant as soon as he is elected to the second seat.”

Senator Taj Haider was of the view that under Article 223(4) of the constitution, a member did not have a choice regarding this since if they were elected to another house then the first house membership would automatically stand vacant.