ISLAMABAD – The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Sunday announced to support Balochistan independent candidate Sadiq Sanjrani for the Senate chairman slot.

Speaking to media here, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto said that it will field Saleem Mandviwalla on the deputy chairman seat.

Earlier, the PPP and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had given Chief Minister Balochistan Abdul Quddus Bizenjo the authority to bring forth a joint candidate for the slots with help of the newly-elected independent senators from Balochistan.

PTI’s inclination towards PPP’s candidate emerged after a meeting between Balochistan CM Bizenjo and PTI Chairman Imran Khan at the latter’s Bani Gala residence on Sunday. Bizenjo was accompanied by a delegation of independent senators-elect from the province.

During the meeting, Khan announced his support for any candidate the PPP puts up for the post of deputy chairman as per an agreement with Bizenjo.

“As per our promise to the Balochistan CM, we will support the PPP’s candidate for deputy chairman of the Senate,” Khan assured a delegation of the senators-elect from Balochistan.

Imran Khan told the media in a visit to Faisalabad on Sunday that during the meeting with Bizenjo, he had been asked to support the Balochistan CM’s panel, which included a deputy chairman nominated by the PPP. Both sides had already agreed on supporting senator-elect Sanjrani for the post of chairman of the Upper House.

The PTI chief added that he had agreed to support Bizenjo’s panel as “mitigating a sense of deprivation among the citizens of Balochistan is essential”.

Sanjrani is also expected to be voted in by independent senators elected from Balochistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

According to the sources, the PML-N has been having a tough time rallying support for its picks for the posts of chairman and deputy chairman Senate.

The PML-N’s leadership had asked Hasil Bizenjo of the National Party to take the lead for them in the race for Senate chairman and garner support from other senators in the province, but the independents gave him the cold shoulder, the sources said.

Senate session on Monday:

President Mamnoon Hussain has summoned a session of the Senate on March 12, in which newly-elected senators will be sworn in at 10 am.

Nomination papers for Senate chairman and deputy chairman will then be submitted in the Senate Secretariat at noon.

The nomination papers will be reviewed at 2pm after which another session will be summoned at 4pm the same day, when the chairman and deputy chairman will be elected.

Following the election, the Senate chairman will take oath, and will then swear in his deputy.

After the oath-taking, the session will be adjourned until further notice.

Numbers game:

The PML-N and independents backed by the party have 33 members in the Senate following the March 3 election.

If one adds the party’s allies — five senators of the PkMAP, five of NP, four of JUI-F and one from PML-Functional — then the count goes up to 48.

The PML-N and its allies claim that they are ahead in the numbers game, and are certain of support from five senators of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), two of eight from FATA and one each from the Awami National Party and Balochistan National Party (Mengal).

If the PML-N indeed gets support from these nine senators, then the party will have a total of 57 members. However, the PPP is also confident of having the required number of votes to get Sanjrani elected.

A total of 53 votes are needed to win the posts.