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Nawaz, Zardari face-off

Top Story

March 8, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz(PML-N) and its allies suffered a rude shock on Wednesday when the Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) President Asif Ali Zardari rejected their offer of support to elect Mian Raza Rabbani as the Senate chairman for the second term.

During a consultative meeting held here, the ruling PML-N and its allies agreed to support Mian Raza Rabbani for the office of the Senate chairman if nominated by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

The allies agreed with Nawaz Sharif’s suggestion that the PPP leadership should be contacted on the issue. The consultative meeting was attended by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Mir Hasil Bizenjo, Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Raja Zafarul Haq, Mushahid Husain Sayed, Pervaiz Rashid and others.

Nawaz Sharif later told newsmen that Raza Rabbani was a suitable candidate for the slot of Senate chairman. He said the PML-N would bring its own candidate if the PPP did not agree to their suggestion.

Having 33 members in the Senate, the PML-N also enjoys the support of at least 15 senators from the JUI-F, National Party and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKAMP). The offer (of support) was conveyed to Zardari by the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman during a meeting.

However, Zardari rejected the offer saying: “Thank you. I don’t need it.” Zardari wants his close aide Salim Mandviwala to head the upper house of Parliament. “Thank you very much, I don’t want that,” Zardari responded precisely when a journalist put him a question about Nawaz Sharif’s offer during a press talk after his meeting with JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman.

Zardari’s refusal to accept Nawaz’s offer shows his disinterest in bringing Rabbani as the consensus candidate for the second term. Zardari visited the residence of Fazl to seek his support for the election of Mandviwala as the Senatechairman and offered him the office of deputy chairman Senate.

“We hope Fazl will support us, as he has done so in the past,” he told journalists. “I have discussed some names with Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who will share our suggestions with his friends,” he said.

Fazl informed the media about his meeting earlier with Nawaz and said he had held a consultative session on Wednesday and some suggestions were presented. ”We will discuss these suggestions in our meeting and if any better suggestion comes out then we will also put our suggestions to them,” he said.

Insiders say Imran wanted to get a senator from Balochistan elected as the chairman but now he had no objection to Mandviwala’s candidature. Welcoming the move, PTI Deputy Secretary General Usman Dar said the nation was eyeing the NAB for fair accountability.

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