ISLAMABAD - Encouraging from his party position in the Upper House after elections, Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Co-Chairman PPP Asif Ali Zardari has further extended his stay in the federal capital to grab top slots of Senate by forging further alliances.

The PPP Co-chairman, who was scheduled to fly to Karachi on Friday with some party's bigwigs, has started making strategy to enhance contacts with political parties having small number in Senate to once again keep the top position in his hands. Apart from using different political channels to gain maximum support in next phase, the PPP's bigwigs have also started mulling over suitable candidates for chairman Senate.

The names of Farooq H.Naek and Rehman Malik are on the cards for the contenders of this slot of Senate but still consensus was not built on any name, background interactions and discussion with PPP's senior members left this impression.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan's firm stance for not putting weight behind both main parties (PPP and PML-N), sources said, has also cleared the position for major opposition party to focus on smaller groups to grab the top positions. Sources said that PPP has so far not reached any consensus for making further alliances but optimistic to accomplish this task due to its previous experience.

When contacted, PPP Co-chairman Spokesman Farhat Ullah Babar said that PPP in first phase of Senate has secured maximum majority and same spirit would be adopted for top slots. "The PPP co-chairman would stay in Islamabad for more days," he said, responding a question about extending his stay till next phase of Senate election on March 12.

"PPP will definitely choose contender for top slot after deliberation on different names," he said, hinting that PPP might start deliberation to forge further alliances in coming days.

Meanwhile, sources said that the party was simply neglecting the previous idea to mutually cooperate with PML-N for the position of chairman Senate and deputy chairman. As, sources said, the number game has made him confident to clinch the slot san the support of PML-N.

They said that since the PML-N government could not secure majority position in Senate and Zardari wants to form an alliance with smaller players to keep his maneuvering position intact in future political scenario.

Sources said that PPP leaders have also contacted main leaders of ANP and MQM to felicitate the election of their candidates and discussed future scenario for both the top slots.   

Talking to The Nation, PPP Senator Rehman Malik said that he was not conveyed from the party's Co-Chairman to be ready to become contender of chairman Senate. "I do not know why these speculations are being made, I was not conveyed this message from the party," he added.

Political pundits say that Zardari wants to keep the top slots within the party so that the PML-N remains its hostage for legislation in the upper house and other related matters.

Apart from other matters, the PML-N is also afraid of opposition parties in terms of legislations because of its previous performance for turning bill into an act of parliament.

As the ruling party and its allies during the first parliamentary year of 14th assembly could turn only finance bill into act of the parliament.

Whereas, the remaining 10 bills could not sail through due to less strength of PML-N in the upper house of the parliament.

Meanwhile, terming the election process a triumph of democracy, Zardari felicitated all newly elected members of the senate.

Zardari said that the elections had vindicated PPP's position on the constitutional amendments only for the senate elections. He also congratulated party leaders tasked with overseeing the electoral process ensuring the win of party candidates.

SHAH FELICITATES NEWLY ELECTED SENATORS

Leader of Opposition in National Assembly, Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah, has felicitated the newly elected members of Senate.

"Senate's role in the country's politics is very important as it represents the provinces and the country on equal representation," Shah said, expressing hope that newly elected members would play positive role for strengthening democracy in the country.

He said issuance of ordinance to block the senators' election from FATA is not a politically viable move and if the government had not taken this step, the senate election must have been completed by now. The government's step is not within the legal and political sphere and, therefore, it should be set aside at the earliest, he added. He said Pakistan Peoples Party is a true democratic party and will always take measures to block undemocratic moves taken by any party or group in the country.

The government, Shah said, should neither come from the backdoor nor should it take manoeuvres in the darkness of the night as this is against the norms of democracy and justice.