ISLAMABAD   -  The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and its allies Friday submitted a no-confidence resolution in the Senate against Deputy Chairman Senate Saleem Mandviwalla — a move that can be seen as a tit-for-tat reaction to the opposition’s no-trust move against Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani.

A group of senators of PTI and its allies in the house and led by Leader of the House Shibli Faraz submitted the resolution to the secretary Senate.

Before this, leader of the house held a meeting with other parties and independent senators sitting on the treasury benches of the Upper House.

Senator Faraz told reporters that the resolution carries signatures of 26 senators — one fourth of the total strength of the house as required under the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate 2012 to bring a no-trust motion.

“We, the undersigned, hereby give notice of a motion for leave to move a resolution for removal of Senator Saleeem Mandviwalla, Deputy Chairman Senate from the Office...under Article 61 read with paragraph (c) of clause (7) of Article 53 of the Constitution and rule 12 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate, 2012,” says the motion submitted with the Senate Secretariat.

The move comes three days after opposition parties in the Senate moved a no-confidence resolution against Chairman Sanjrani. On July 11, the opposition’s Rehbar Committee also announced the name of National Party Senator Hasil Bizenjo as their joint candidate for the position of chairman Senate.

Talking to reporters here on Friday, PTI leader and Defence Minister Pervez Khattak said that members of government, the other day, had held a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan to form a strategy following the opposition’s move to remove Sanjrani.

"Our stance is that when opposition withdrew its support for our chairman, we should withdraw our support for its deputy chairman," he said adding that the treasury had given 36 votes to Mandviwalla and in return, PPP had given 20 votes to Sanjrani.

He stressed that no money would be used in this process but added that “15 to 20 independent senators in the house would vote according to their conscience.”

Khattak appreciated that Sanjrani had run the house with dignity for the past one and a half year and there was "no reason to remove him".

Reacting to the no-confidence resolution against him, Deputy Chairman Mandviwalla, who belonged to PPP, said, "If majority of members say in black and white that I should not remain in office, I will step down.” He indicated that the treasury side had no votes required to remove him from office and added that he would face the no-trust move.

“This is a strange tradition in the Senate as this had never happened before and this is not good for Upper House,” he pointed out.

The parliamentary leader of PPP in the Senate Sherry Rehman said that the government had initiated no—confidence move against Mandviwalla only to satisfy itself as it has no numbers required to get pass the resolution.

“The majority in the house supports deputy chairman,” she said adding that opposition would not succumb to the pressure of government. The government only wants from opposition to withdraw no-trust move against chairman, she said adding that they would not reverse their decision. She also said that opposition would defeat this move easily.

The opposition parties have 67 votes in the present 103-member house while treasury has 36 votes. At least 53 votes are required to remove chairman or deputy chairman from the office.

In a major blow to the then ruling party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Sanjrani had elected as chairman with the support of PPP, PTI and some independents in March, last year. He had secured 57 votes by defeating PML-N-backed candidate Raja Zafarul Haq who could bag only 46 votes despite his party was in majority.

In return, PPP got elected its Senator Salim Mandviwalla as deputy chairman.  He had received 54 votes.

On June 26, a multi-party conference of opposition parties including PPP and PML-N had decided to remove Sanjrani as a protest against the “government’s anti-corruption drive against them.”

 

PPP RIDICULES PTI’S MOVE

 

PPP yesterday ridiculed the ruling Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf’s decision to bring a no-confidence motion against Deputy Senate Chairman Saleem Mandviwalla.

PPP Vice President Sherry Rehman said the motion against Mandviwalla was only a joke as the government does not have the required numbers to oust him.

She claimed Mandviwalla had the support of the majority of the senators but the government was trying to pressurise the opposition to withdraw the motion against Sanjrani.

“The government is only playing politics. They don’t have the required numbers to make a change. Their motion will be rejected by the House,” she contended.

The PPP leader said the opposition will not withdraw the motion against Sanjrani at any cost.

The PTI had earlier announced to respond to the opposition’s move against chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, by bringing an identical motion against deputy chairman Saleem Mandviwalla - belonging to the PPP.