ISLAMABAD–The tug of war for the top Senate slots has reached to a new intensity as Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has offered Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s JUI-F the post of deputy chairman of Senate.
According to a private television channel, the JUI-F leader was offered the seat by PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari at a meeting of his allies in Islamabad.
Leaders of MQM, ANP, JUI-F, PML-Q, BNP (Awami) and representatives from FATA have been invited for the meeting called by the PPP leader to discuss strategy for fielding consensus candidates for the coveted offices of Senate Chairman and Deputy Chairman.
Sources said JUI-F would respond to offer following party’s consultative meeting in Islamabad.
The move could strengthen the PPP ranks with five senators of JUI-F apart of the votes of its allies Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) with eight seats, Awami National Party (ANP) seven seats, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) four seats and two senators of BNP Awami.
The coalition of these opposition groups in Senate coupled with 27 senators of the PPP could reach to the golden number of 53, desirable to win the chairman and deputy chairman election in the upper house.
PPP rivals, ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which has boosted its seats to 26 in the upper house in recent Senate polls has also intensified contacts to win the coveted Senate office.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been forced to repair his severed links with Q-League and also holding contacts with Baloch nationalist leader Akhtar Mengal.
It is being said that the ruling party could also offer the deputy chairman’s slot to Fazlur Rehman to counter the PPP move.
According to sources PML-N has accessed to PTI leader Shafqat Mehmood seeking an alliance in the upper house.
Following Thursday’s Senate elections, both PPP and PML-N stepped up wrangling and lobbying for the top Senate offices as senior party members continued meetings with heads of smaller parties.
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