ISLAMABAD - The opposition parties Tuesday submitted a resolution of no-confidence against Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani — a first-ever move in the parliamentary history of the Upper House.

Along with the resolution to remove chairman Senate, the opposition also submitted a requisition with the Senate Secretariat to convene the session of the Upper House for this purpose.

On June 26, a Multi-Party Conference (MPC) of opposition parties had decided to remove Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani who was elected to this position on March 12, 2018. The moot had also decided to constitute “Rehbar Committee” represented by all participant parties to implement the decisions of MPC.

The decision of removal was taken to mount pressure on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led coalition in the wake of its ongoing accountability drive against politicians of opposition that is being dubbed as victimisation by them.

The opposition parties in the Senate have 67 votes in the 104-member house, however as Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) having two senators has skipped all recent meetings of opposition parties, the number goes down to 65. PML-N is the largest party in the Senate with 30 senators followed by PPP with 21 members.

If the opposition succeeded to remove Sanjrani, it will be the first removal of any chairman Senate through a no-confidence move. The opposition needs 53 votes to get pass the resolution through a simple majority from the house that at present has 103 members.

Earlier on Tuesday, the opposition parties met in the parliament house under the chair of Leader of the Opposition Raja Zafarul Haq to discuss a strategy on the removal process and get signatures of the lawmakers on two documents.

Two opposition senators, former opposition leader as well as PPP Senator Sherry Rehman and PML-N Senator Javd Abbsai gave a final edit to the resolution which demands the removal of the chairman under Rule 12 (Removal of Chairman or Deputy Chairman) of the Rules of Procedure in Conduct of Business in the Senate, 2012. As many 44 lawmakers signed the resolution while a requisition having signatures of 50 senators was also submitted to convene the session so that resolution could be moved. During the meeting, the two lawmakers, one each from PPP and PML-N questioned the reason behind the removal and also sought details about the procedure.

Talking in the meeting on behalf of his party, PPP Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar told his fellow senators that it was the party decision, the sources privy to the in-camera meeting informed. PML-N Senator Musadik Malik also gave a similar reply.

Senator Rehman briefed the meeting about the rules pertaining to the removal. She while talking to reporters after the meeting said that 20 lawmakers of PPP bore signatures on both resolution and requisition except Deputy Chairman Senate Salim Mandviwalla who perhaps will chair the session on that day. She said that chairman would have to summon the session within 14 days of the requisition.

Meanwhile, Chairman Senate Sanjrani during an informal interaction with reporters said that he would not be resigning voluntarily. He added that a no-trust move was a democratic right and he had no reservations on it.

On July 5, the anti-government Rehbar Committee had announced that opposition would move a no-confidence resolution on July 9 and announce its joint candidate for new chairman on July 11 when it would meet on the same day. It is likely that the committee would also decide the name of new opposition leader in the Senate if the slot for the new chairman went in favour of PML-N.

The Rule 12 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate 2012 says: “not less than one-fourth of the total membership of the House may give to the Secretary notice in writing of a motion for leave to move a resolution under Article 61 read with paragraph (c) of clause (7) of Article 53 of the Constitution for the removal from office of the Chairman or the Deputy Chairman and the Secretary shall forthwith circulate the notice to the members.”

The rule further says that the “Chairman or, as the case   may be, Deputy Chairman shall stand removed from his office on the resolution being passed by a majority of the total membership of the Senate.”

On March 12 last year, Sanjrani, an independent senator from Balochistan, had been elected as chairman Senate by securing 57 votes with the backing of an undeclared alliance between the PPP and PTI. He was the first one from Balochistan who became the chairman Senate.

Sanjrani had defeated PML-N-backed candidate Raja Zafarul Haq who could bag only 46 votes despite the fact that his party was the majority party in the house. In return, PPP got elected its Senator Salim Mandviwalla as deputy chairman.  He had received 54 votes by defeating his opponent Usman Kakar of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) who had got 44 votes.