ISLAMABAD: Amid widening differences between the two important parties of the Opposition alliance – PPP and PML-N – the key post of Senate Opposition leader was secured by Senator Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani.
The PPP leader had filed his nomination after he got the support of 30 senators including four independent lawmakers from the Balochistan Awami Party.
“In pursuance of Rule 16 (3) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate 2012, the Chairman Senate has been pleased to declare Senator Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani, as Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, with effect from 26th March, 2021,” read the notification issued by the Senate Secretariat.
Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani earlier today filed the nomination papers for the slot, according to pictures shared by PPP Senator Rubina Khalid on Twitter.
PML-N’s Azam Nazir Tarrar, according to reports, had the support of 21 Opposition senators while JUI-F, which has five senators, did not support any candidate.
PML-N had responded angrily to the nomination of Gillani saying the development is a “setback” for the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).
Talking to the media after submitting the request, Senator Sherry Rehman said the PPP’s request has the signatures of 21 senators from the party, two from the ANP, one from the Jamat-e-Islami, two from erstwhile Fata and four members of the upper house from Dilawar Khan’s independent group.
Speaking on reports of the contentious issue spelling doom for the Opposition alliance, Rehman said the move was not the PDM’s funeral but the PPP’s right.
As per the rules, the Chairman Senate declares a member as Leader of the Opposition having the support of the majority of the members in opposition within 15 days of the election of chairman and deputy chairman.
PML-N vs PPP
The two main Opposition parties — the PPP and the PML-N — were at loggerheads over the matter with Maryam Nawaz saying multiple times that the PDM leaders had decided that the Senate chairman would be from the PPP, deputy chairman from the JUI-F and the Opposition leader’s slot would go to her party.
PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had also said that PML-N should get the post and reportedly talked to PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to respect the decision taken by the PDM leaders.
The PPP, however, responded by saying the situation is no more the same after the March 12 debacle in which Gillani lost the election despite having the majority in the upper house.