The opposition has officially taken the plunge and submitted a no-confidence resolution for the removal of Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani. Success at this point is crucial for the opposition coalition to be effective in its plans to provide the government a challenge in following through on its policies in the future. Failing to file a successful motion against the government even with the cushion of superior numbers might cause fractures to develop in the Rehbar Committee and will prove to be an impediment in cooperating going forward. Beyond that, after the defeat in the budget, another defeat by the government will make the opposition seem toothless and hence become less of a threat for the ruling party.

The opposition parties do officially have the numbers to remove Chairman Sanjrani successfully, provided there are no defections. But given that the final vote rests on a secret ballot and the ruling coalition managed to win over senators from the ranks of opposition parties to get Mr Sanjrani in the seat, avoid a repeat incident is imperative. The most important step is choosing the right replacement; the opposition’s candidate for Chairman must be someone who can unite their side and ensure no one is compelled to vote in favour of the current Chairman.

A successful no-trust motion would be historic, although Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani’s position was tenuous already without a party behind him and his place at the head of the Senate was only a result of clever political strategy by PTI as a means to derail PML-N’s hopes of installing their man in place. The political climate has changed much since May 2018 when Sanjrani was elected as Chairman. PPP is now siding with PML-N and with a significant number of seats collectively – the Rehbar Committee’s senator count stands at 60 with at least 52 needed – the government is probably more worried about this development than it is letting on.