New Chairman Senate and Balochistan’s Hopes

Published on – March 13, 2018 – 7:00 am

For the First time in the history of Pakistan the Upper House of the Parliament will be chaired by a Senator from Balochistan.

For the First time in the history of Pakistan the Upper House of the Parliament will be chaired by a Senator from Balochistan.

The conundrum of Senate top slot has been ended as Mir Sadiq Sanjrani was elected as a new Senate chairman on Monday after securing 57 votes beating Raja Zafar ul haq by 11 votes.

Critic has been labeling Sadiq Sanjrani for haggling Balochistan MPAs during Senate Elections he has close ties with PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari. On the very next day of Senate Elections flanked with Chief Minister Balochistan, Sadiq Sanjrani announced that their independent group will demand Chairmanship of Senate and would approach others to support us.

He was nominated by Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo as a candidate for the coveted position of the Senate chairman. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have pledged to back the nomination.

Sanjrani belongs to the mineral rich district of Balochistan Chaghi which has huge reserves of gold, copper, silver and many other minerals.  Saindak and Reko Diq copper and gold mines are also located in the district. He started his political career in Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N and stayed with him until his ouster by the military coup in 1999. Sanjrani later joined the PPP and was appointed in charge of the Prime Minister Complaint Cell where he worked for five years.

Sanjrani was born on April 14, 1978 in Balochistan’s Nok Kundi town in Chagai district.

The senator received his primary education from Nok Kundi and later attended the Balochistan University from where he obtained his Master’s degree in Arts.

Sanjrani’s father, Khan Mohammad Asif Sanjrani, is a tribal leader and a member of Chagai’s District Council.

The senator is the eldest of five brothers.

His brother Aijaz Sanjrani was the adviser to the revenue department in this government in the tenure of Sanaullah Zehri as chief minister. He continued to serve on the position after the incumbent chief minister took office.

Another brother of the senator, Muhammad Razik Sanjrani, has served as the managing director of the Saindak Copper Gold Project.

In 1998, Sanjrani was appointed as the then-prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s coordinator.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto termed it a victory for Balochistan and federalism against “Zia’s opening batsman” Raja Zafarul Haq, fielded by the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and its allies.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan echoed the same views, saying he is happy for the people of Balochistan and the federation.

Balochistan has remained one of the least developed and deprived provinces of Pakistan with the highest level of poverty, lowest literacy rate and human development index, the infrastructure development has also been negligible. There are also number of separatist and insurgent groups operating here. The initiation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which will pass through Balochistan, has provided a golden opportunity to the Pakistani government to mainstream Balochistan and bring it at par with the other provinces.

Considering the present scenario, selection the chairman Senate from Balochistan would be a big leap forward for the country and the province. Bringing peace in Balochistan is an imperative issue for stability in the whole country and a Baloch chairman would turn to the plight of Balochistan which have long been ignored by the country. The Chairman presides over the whole senate and controls the topics of discussion, interprets and applies the standing orders, responds to Members’ points of order relating to them and gives rulings on procedure when necessary.

The low population and lack of representation in the center has always been a major hindrance in highlighting the issues of the people of Balochistan. Majority of the senators elected from the provincial assembly in the past were not residents of Baloch soil, some senators did not even visit the province during the tenure. Sanjrani, on the other hand, is a resident of Balochistan and has resided there for most of his life. As the chairman, he’ll be able to address Balochistan’s issues in the upper house and play a major role in pro-Baloch legislations and become a true custodian of the rights of people of Balochistan.