Rabbani takes oath as 7th Chairman Senate

ISLAMABAD: Senior politician Senator Raza Rabbani, Thursday took oath as Chairman to the Upper House of the Parliament after he was elected unopposed for the office. Presiding Officer Senator Ishaq Dar administered the oath.

Rabbani, a consensus candidate of all political parties has succeeded one of his party colleagues Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari who retired on March 11 after completing his tenure of the office.

As the history of the Senate like National Assembly is plagued by the martial laws, Rabbani is the 7th in the series since inception of the Upper House in 1973.

Bokhari was the sixth Chairman of the Senate after Khan Habibullah Khan Marwat, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Waseem Sajjad, Muhammad Mian Soomro and Farooq H Naek. Bokhari remained Chairman for three years since his election on March 12, 2012.

The Senate chronology shows that its first Chairman was Khan Habibullah Khan, a PPP leader, who remained Senate Chairman for approximately three years and 11 months from August 06, 1973 to August 05, 1975 and from August 06, 1975 to July 04, 1977 when the then Army Chief Ziaul Haq imposed martial law in the country.

The Senate suffered a blow in its infancy with the imposition of martial law and remained suspended from 1977 to 1985 and so remained the post of the Chairman.

Ghulam Ishaq Khan succeeded as Senate Chairman to Khan Habibullah Khan as an independent candidate and remained in the office for three years, eight months and 20 days from March 21, 1985 to March 20, 1988 and from March 21, 1988 to December 12, 1988.

Ghulam Ishaq Khan was succeeded by Waseem Sajjad, the longest serving Chairman who remained in office for four terms from December 24, 1988 to March 20, 1991; March 21, 1991 to March 20, 1994; March 21, 1994 to March 20, 1997; and from March 21, 1997 till October 12, 1999 when the then Army Chief Pervez Musharraf imposed martial law in the country.

Waseem Sajjad was joint candidate of Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) when he contested for the first time but later as a PML-N candidate and remained Chairman of the Senate for 10 years nine months and 17 days.

The Senate remained suspended once again from October 12, 1999 till March 23, 2003 when Muhammad Mian Soomro of Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid e Azam) was elected as its Chairman.

Soomro remained Chairman for two terms from March 23, 2003 to March 22, 2006 and from March 23, 2006 to March 11, 2009.

His total tenure in the office has been reckoned at five years, 11 months and 18 days.

Soomro was succeeded by PPPP’s Farooq H Naek who remained Chairman from March 12, 2009 to March 11, 2012 for three years.

The last Chairman prior to Raza Rabbani was Nayyer Hussain Bokhari who remained in the office from March 12, 2012 till March 11, 2015.

The Senate is stated to be the more representative house of the federating units with equal representation of members from each province.

But, unfortunately the dictators suspended its functioning as per their will and the Upper House remained suspended for 11 years, one month and 27 days out of its total life span of 41 years, seven months and six days till today (March 12, 2015).