Unopposed: Nayyer Hussain Bokhari elected Senate chairman
March 12, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Echoes of ‘zinda hai Bhutto zinda hai’ (Bhutto is alive) roared in the senate as 54 new and 50 continuing senators took oath of office on Monday, presided by Senator Afrasiab Khattak.
Secretary Senate Iftikharullah Babar formerly welcomed the newly elected Senators.
Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari, currently leader of the house has replaced Senate Chairman Farooq H Naek, while Senator Sabir Baloch replaced Jan Muhammad Jamali as the deputy.
Having a decisive role in the upper house, the senators will elect the chairman and deputy chairman of the Senate for the next three years.
The speaker called names in an alphabetical and senators came one after another to sign the roll of members.
Senator Khattak requested the house to maintain peace as they chanted pro-PPP slogans. “We don’t have much time,” he said.
For the first time under the 18th amendment, four minorities Senators have also been elected from the four provinces.
The new senators will remain in the house for a six-year term. The 50 colleagues they are joining will step down in three years.
The oath-taking ceremony was attended by senior politicians, parliamentarians and people belonging to different walks of life. All the galleries were full with media persons and visitors.
Balochistan a concern for new Senators
While welcoming the four minorities Senators, Pakistan People’s Party leader, Senator Aitzaz Ahsan said the term “minorities” should be replaced with “better Pakistanis”.
Speaking on floor of the House, he said a paradigm shift was needed in Balochistan. Ahsan added that a legislation was needed to define the role of intelligence agencies in the province to ensure that “all institutions work under constitutional ambit.”
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Ishaq Dar said he was confident that the treasury and opposition benches will work together. He added that the 20th Amendment will help in holding free, fair and transparent elections.
Speaking about the Balochistan crisis and prevailing sense of deprivation among the people, Dar said everyone needs to sit together and resolve the issues faced by the province.
Claiming that conspiracies were hatched against the Senate elections, Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) Chief, Senator Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain praised President Asif Ali Zardari for holding elections on time.
PPP leader, Senator Farhatullah Babar felicitated the newly elected Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Senate, adding that hardworking, and dedicated political workers had been elected.
Emphasising the need to improve Pakistan’s image, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Senator Babar Khan Ghauri said all those in power should work together to solve the problems faced by the people. He stressed that the forthcoming budget should be relief-oriented.
In his speech, ANP’s newly elected Senator, Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, said that Pakistan’s foreign policy should be “brought under parliament’s control”.
Pakistan Muslim League-Functional’s (PML-F) Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah, while addressing the Senate said democracy in Pakistan can only succeed if the parliament is strengthened and made capable to solve issues. He advised that all the political parties should have consensus over how to deal with major issues like economy, unemployment, poverty and War on Terror.
Other members who spoke on the occasion included Kalsoom Parveen, Hamza, Mushahid Hussain Syed, Syed Mustafa Kamal, Haji Muhammad Adeel, Humayun Khan Mandokhel, Abbas Khan. They all congratulated the newly elected Chairman and Deputy Chairman Senate and extend their cooperation.
Elections on March 2 led to the PPP emerging as the single largest party in the Senate, with 41 seats. The main opposition, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), won 14 seats. Senator Ishaq Dr of the PML-N is likely to be the new opposition leader in the Senate.
Some leading figures who have taken oath today include: Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa from the PML-N; Farhatullah Babar, Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Raza Rabbani, Aitzaz Ahsan and Zaheer-ud-Din Baber Awan from the PPP; Mushahid Hussain Syed and Kamil Ali Agha from the PML-Q; Mustafa Kamal and Nasreen Jalil from the MQM; and Shahi Syed from the ANP.