The two forerunners of the Senate elections kicked off their frenzied campaigns enlisting support of smaller groups for the election of the coveted position of Senate chairman. Where neither of the two parties has the required numerical strength in the upper house of parliament to elect the chairman and his deputy from amongst its ranks, the more ideal outcome would be to reach a consensus over the nominee. However, the negotiations seem to be off to a rocky start with the Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari’s rejecting the ruling party’s offer to field Raza Rabbani as a joint candidate, maintaining that the universally esteemed Chairman was a PML-N sympathizer.

It seems that in the light of PPP’s recently reverted ‘pro-establishment’ stance, most of its more seasoned and conscientious members have lost favor in the ranks. With the loss of of a seasoned voice like Aitizaz Ahsan in the senate, the PPP configuration has been further strategically revised with the removal of an esteemed parliamentarian like Farathullah Babar, who was conveniently abdicated as spokesman for Mr Zardari for criticizing his partys’ backpedaling on the issue of judiciary/state institutions challenging the supremacy of the parliament. It seems that the party is reconfiguring its protagonists to reflect timely amity with the powers-that-be. The categorical rejection of Mr. Rabbani; an efficacious Chairman in his recent tenure and a respected and even-handed proponent in the Senate, hints at the PPP leaderships’ bid to elect a more malleable candidate for the preeminent role, one that would not mince matters over on the party’s politically expedient backtracking.

PML-N on its end has made consistent overtures over fielding Rabbani as the Chairman. However, despite its very vocal avowal of Mr. Rabbani, the party has alluded to considering Hasil Bizenjo as its default choice for the post if PPP, predictably, does not agree. One can also assume that in keeping with routine political machinations and maneuvering, PML-N’s approach might be a feint and strike tactic, aimed to propel a party ally into the inner circle.

Where many members of the PPP that wanted to see Mr Rabbani as the next chairman are not thrilled over Mr Zardari’s new “pro-establishment stance”, and PML-N is still navigating a hostile climate to its reign, it remains to be seen whether both parties chooses to put aside their self-serving political manoeuvring in the interest of an egalitarian consensus for nominating a universally respected and conscientious Senate Chairman, one that keeps an equitable onus of checks and balances on the tenure of the freshly elected Senate.