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Elections for new Chairman Senate, deputy chairman to be held today

ISLAMABAD: The Senate would elect its new chairman and deputy chairman in a close contest as there is a narrow margin in the numerical strength of Senators belonging to the government coalition and the opposition parties.

President Dr Arif Alvi has summoned a session of the Senate at 10 AM (today) at the Parliament House in Islamabad. The president has nominated Senator Syed Muzafar Hussain Shah as presiding officer of the session. He will administer oath to newly elected members of the Senate in the morning session.

The schedule for the election of Senate chairman and deputy chairman will be announced afterward. The chairman after his election will be administered oath by the presiding officer.  The elections will be held through secret ballot after oath-taking the new members. Later the newly elected chairman will preside over the session for election of the deputy chairman and administration of oath to him.

Sadiq Sanjrani and Yousaf Raza Gillani will contest for the slot of Chairman Senate. Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri and Mirza Muhammad Afridi would challenge each other for the post of Deputy Chairman.

The senators of the ruling coalition include 27 members of the PTI, 12 of Balochistan Awami Party, three of MQM, three independents and one each of PML-Q and GDA.

The opposition senators include 21 of PPP, 17 of PML-N, excluding Ishaq Dar who has not taken oath of the office, five of JUI-F, two each of ANP, BNP-Mengal, PkMAP and National Party and one of Jamaat-i-Islami.

The opposition collectively has 52 members in the House excluding Ishaq Dar against 47 senators belonging to the ruling coalition. The Jamaat-i-Islami has decided to abstain from voting, the difference between the vote bank of the government and the opposition has narrowed down to four. After the Senate elections on March 3, the House strength has been reduced to 100 senators.

Prominent among those who will not be part of the new Senate are Raja Zafarul Haq, Pervaiz Rashid, Gen (retd) Abdul Qayyum, Gen (retd) Salahuddin Tirmizi, Javed Abbasi, Ayesha Raza Farooq and Chaudhry Tanvir Khan (PML-N), Rehman Malik, Sassui Palijo (PPP), Sirajul Haq (JI), Usman Khan Kakar (PkMAP) and Dr Jahanzeb Jamaldini (BNP-M).

Five senators passed way before completion of their term including Mohammad Azam Musakhail, Shahbaz Durrani, Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, Kulsoom Parveen and Mushahidullah Khan.

The senators who have been re-elected are Sherry Rehman, Farooq H. Naek, Saleem Mandviwala, Shibli Faraz, Liaquat Tarakai, Mohsin Aziz, Zeeshan Khanzada, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Maulana Ata-ur-Rehman, Prof Sajid Mir, Sarfraz Bugti and Manzoor Kakar.