ISLAMABAD   -  Prime Minister Imran Khan looks confident in defeating the no-confidence motion against Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, moved by the combined opposition in the 104-member Upper House. However, this is in contrast to the opposition parties’ claim to have gathered sufficient number to remove Sanjrani.

Background interviews and discussions with members of different parliamentary parties in the Senate suggest that the ruling coalition is taking it an opportunity to cultivate like-minded senators from the opposition who support Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani.

“At least 14 senators from main opposition parties -- Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) -- are in contact with the government to extend their cooperation not only in defeating the no-confidence motion but also in making certain laws,” sources claimed on condition of anonymity.

They said the government is all set to surprise the opposition, arguing the opposition itself has been trapped for the untimely no-trust move. “The opposition has provided us with an opportunity to make inroads into the opposition ranks”, the sources privy to developments told The Nation.

They further said that more and more senators from the opposition parties are contacting the government. “The myth of opposition’s numerical strengthen will not only expose the inbuilt cracks in the opposition ranks but also the opposition will be shattered after the defeated”, the sources claimed.                

On the other hand, opposition leaders in the Senate are also confident that they will succeed in removing the Chairman.

Earlier, opposition’s joint candidate for Senate chairman Mir Hasil claimed that more than 60 senators of the opposition parties will meet on Monday to show their strength.

Talking to reporters on Friday, he insisted that the opposition has the sufficient numbers saying the meeting of the opposition yesterday had included more than 50 senators. He further claimed that the next meeting, to be held on Monday, will have more than 60 senators.

In yesterday’s meeting, at least 54 of the 66 opposition senators enough to remove the Senate chairman had expressed the resolve not to withdraw the no-confidence motion against the Senate chairman.

Sherry Rehman had told yesterday’s meeting that preserving the prestige of the Senate was not a duty of the opposition alone, adding that the government’s claim that it would defeat the no-confidence motion was nothing short of an admission of indulgence in horse-trading.

“This is called horse-trading plus,” she had remarked.

Citing yesterday’s attendance, the opposition leaders described it as an informal vote on the motion of no-confidence and described it as a ‘proof’ that their motion would sail through Senate if put to vote.