ISLAMABAD - Though President Asif Ali Zardari, who is also the PPP co-chairman, is yet to finalise the names of the new chairman and deputy chairman of Senate, newly-elected PPP senator from Balochistan Sardar Fateh Mohammad Hasni has emerged as one of the strongest candidates for the slot of deputy chairman, parliamentary sources Tuesday informed TheNation. Furthermore, it has been learnt form credible sources that incumbent Senate Chairman Senate Farooq H Naek will continue to hold the office, despite the rumours that he would be replaced on March 12.

The elections for both slots will be held on March 12 when 54 newly-elected senators are scheduled to take their oath.

Well-placed parliamentary sources aware of the development say the ruling alliance had finalised the name of Hasni for the slot of deputy chairman after the coalition partners, including ANP, withdrew their demand to get the coveted post. Hasni has been elected on a general seat from Balochistan. The sources further said the main motive behind the decision of not replacing Farooq H Naek is his loyalty with the party and his uprightness as well as professionalism that would be the strongest points in his favour in the eyes of PPP co-chairman, Asif Ali Zardari.

Naek during his stint has always run the business of the house in a professional way keeping in view the rules of business and parliamentary norms. The sources are of the view that there is no any reason to replace Naek when he enjoyed full confidence of the party and President Zardari.

Monitoring Desk adds: The coalition partners of PPP-led government pledged to support President Asif Ali Zardari for holding general elections in March 2013, a private TV channel reported on Tuesday.

A meeting of the coalition partners of Pakistan People’s Party was held at Presidency on Monday night that was chaired by the president. Surprisingly, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was not present on the occasion.

The TV quoting its sources reported that the president suggested the idea of holding elections in March next year during the meeting, which was supported by the government’s allies.

The president said the democracy was returned after a while in the country and it should be protected. He also urged all coalition partners to take credit for completing the constitutional tenure of the government.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Farooq Sattar, on the occasion, tendered his party’s support to the president and said that “MQM stands with the president on every political decision.”

Awami National Party (ANP) chief Asfandyar Wali also vowed his party’s support and said that ANP would back every step taken by the PPP. “Reconciliatory policy of the government has strengthened the democracy,” he added.

All the allies supported the suggestion of the president, who was in a good mood, for holding elections in March next year.

The president thanked all coalition partners for supporting PPP and said that the government would complete its five years with their support.

Meanwhile, Nayyar Bokhari has been nominated Senate Chairman, a private TV channel reported on Tuesday.

The names of Nayyar, Aitzaz Ahsan, Farhatullah Babar, Raza Rabbani and Babar Awan were under consideration. Aitzaz was tipped to be favourite. However, some analysts had suggested that since Aitzaz is representing the government in key cases, including PM’s contempt case, it would be difficult for him to be relieved of the duties crucial to the PPP as a party.

The decision to bring new Senate chairman was made at PPP core committee meeting on Monday night. Farooq Naek yet continues to be Senate chairman till official notification of replacement.

Reports also suggested that President Asif Ali Zardari has decided to name deputy Senate chairman from Balochistan.

Nayyar Bokhari was born on December 23, 1952, in Rawalpindi and was elected as MNA on a PPPP seat. A lawyer by profession, Nayyar has been a member of the Islamabad Bar Association since 1980 and Islamabad Club since 1989.

Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardari apologised to Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali Khan that Senate Deputy Chairmanship could not be given to the ANP as the PPP was considering giving the seat to a senator from Balochistan.