After the 2018 general elections, the ruling party and the opposition may yet face their first proper parliamentary battle on the floor of the Senate. The opposition parties are gearing to pass a no-trust motion to lead to the removal of Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani from his post in order to increase their influence in the Senate and deliver a blow to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

This will be the first proper challenge put up by the opposition which has a high likelihood of defeating the government. The opposition, which has a clear majority, certainly has the numbers to overrule the government, which has a weak coalition in the Senate. Yet the ruling party will not give in so easily and is making efforts to persuade the opposition to withdraw its no-confidence motion. Letters written by the Chairman Senate to opposition senators bring up procedural technicalities in the rules of business governing Senate to delay the motion and thus buy time to dissuade the opposition in its efforts. Voting on the no-trust motion can be delayed through provisions in the rules which observe that a no-confidence motion cannot be moved in a requisitioned session, with leader of the House Syed Shibli Faraz noting that when a no-confidence motion is moved during an on-going session, voting is to take place within seven days, a technicality which helps the ruling party to delay the motion and give them time to lower support for it.

It is not surprising that the Senate Chairman is trying to prolong the process. However, this delay is not helpful considering this motion will have to eventually come to a vote. In the spirit of the senate, it is better if we get this over with quickly. Uncertainty in the leadership of the Senate is not conducive for any party.