THE nomination of Federal Law Minister Farooq H. Naek as Chairman of the Senate by President Asif Ali Zardari, who is also the PPP Co-Chairman, must have come as a surprise even to his own party leaders, except perhaps for those who happen to be close to President Zardari. One would have hoped that a strict criterion of merit would have been adopted in making the selection for this sensitive assignment, for the incumbent has also to act as the country's President at times. The impression of patronising an old crony ought to have been avoided. The decision would certainly tend to multiply problems for the PPP, which is already up against a critical scenario with regard to the impending long march and sit-in, and is likely to cause disaffection within the party. Before the nomination was made at a meeting of PPP Senators held at Islamabad on Sunday, the common expectation was that it would be the present Leader of the House, Senator Raza Rabbani, who would be given the prestigious slot, but the President is reported to have vetoed his name. The news has obviously dismayed Mr Rabbani, prompting him to tender his resignation as Leader of the House. He put down the telephone receiver when called by reporters, saying that he had conveyed his reaction to Mr Zardari, though he confided in his friends that he was being palmed off with the offer of a ministerial job. Rumours suggest that he might even resign from the PPP because he has differences with Mr Zardari and some other PPP leaders on the issues of the restoration of judges and the disqualification of the Sharif brothers. Attempts at reconciling him are, however, already afoot at the instance of the President. Equally unhappy at Mr Naek's nomination seems to be Sindh PPP General Secretary Nafees Siddiqui. The Senators' meeting could not decide on the choice of Deputy Chairman. However, the names of Mir Jan Jamali and the nominees of the JUI(F) and the MQM remain on the cards. If there is a patch-up with the PML(Q), the slot of the Leader of the House might go to Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. Mr Naek's nomination would further embitter PPP's relations with the PML(N), which believes that he is one of the major hurdles to the restoration of the deposed judiciary. The best course under the circumstances would have been to consult all political parties, and not merely the allied ones, about deciding on a truly impartial political personality for such an important assignment. It is time to show statesmanship, not the tendency to indulge in brinkmanship.