ISLAMABAD         -            With the appointment of Senator Syed Shibli Faraz as the Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has yet to decide who will occupy the central role of Leader of the House in the Senate – the position he previously held.

Prime Minister Imran Khan so far has not made a nomination for the new Leader of the House, and for the time being the newly appointed Information Minister Senator Faraz would continue to work in both positions.

The position of Leader of the House in the Senate is considered very significant as he or she represents the Prime Minister and the government in the upper house of the Parliament in the former’s absence.

Background interviews with some officials of the Senate Secretariat indicate that Prime Minister Imran Khan would be forced to appoint a new Leader of House as it would become difficult for a single person to retain both offices simultaneously, keeping in view their separate nature of work.

According to official sources in the Senate Secretariat, anyone from three senators of the ruling party - Mohsin Aziz, Nauman Wazir Khattak and Faisal Javed - can be the potential nominee for this position.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan has not yet decided on the new appointment and Information Minister Syed Shibli Faraz still holds this position,” Senator Javed told The Nation. He added that it would remain up to PM to decide if Senator Faraz would continue to work in both positions or a new appointment would be made.

Considering the three potential nominees for the slot, Senator Aziz belongs to a renowned industrialist family from Peshawar and has a vast experience in commerce, trade and banking sectors.

Senator Khattak hails from Nowshera district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and has an immense experience in energy, engineering and business sectors.

Senator Javed is considered a loyalist of Prime Imran Khan and is perceived to be very close to the premier, but he is much younger than the other two lawmakers.

According to Senate Secretariat, the Leader of the House represents PM in the Senate and is considered a very dominant position in the upper house of the Parliament because he has to regulate the government business. The Leader of the House has to ensure he is present throughout long sittings of the house.

On the other hand, the Information Minister as a member of the Cabinet is answerable to both houses of the Parliament—the National Assembly and the Senate— and has to answer questions of the lawmakers in both houses.

In normal circumstances, both houses of the Parliament are in session at the same time and the Information Minister has to deal with the business of his ministry in both houses, an official of the Senate Secretariat said.

PTI Senator Aziz agreed that it was a difficult job to keep two positions—Leader of the House and Information Minister— simultaneously.

“The decision of Prime Minister Imran Khan will be final decision on the issue,” he told The Nation.

According to the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate, 2012, the “Leader of the House means the Prime Minister or a member appointed by him to represent Government and regulate Government business in the Senate when the Prime Minister is not sitting in the House.”