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50th Anniversary Session of the Senate: Political forces urged to thrash out roadmap for stability

March 18, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Federal Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar on Friday urged all political forces to sit across the table and thrash out a roadmap for economic, political stability and progress in the country and to ease masses lives.

Indirectly referring to the current deep political polarisation, the minister, while taking the floor after recitation from the Holy Quran, emphasized that attacking each other would weaken the state institutions, as politics is not about discrimination but sticking to one’s ideology.

“If we analyse the past, things have deteriorated instead of improvement and even now economic growth faces ups and downs. One major reason for this situation is political instability and unconstitutional interventions, abrogation of the Constitution and imposition of dictatorships, sometimes for 10-11 and some time for 7-8 years,” he noted.

Tarar called for retrospection and asked if it was not non-seriousness on the part of politicians who get detracted from their duty and if it did not give way to such powers and facilitated them. “Should not we learn from our past, there is also a need to bring a seriousness in our attitude. We need to listen to each other with tolerance and patience. For me, it is extremely painful that the opposition is not present in the House. Their presence would have sent out a very good message,” he said.

The minister sounded optimistic about a change in the opposition’s approach on sitting together for picking up good things and making efforts to eliminate bad things from the society.

Senator Moula Bux Chandio, in his speech, called for elimination of discrimination and linguistic approaches. “What is being resorted to by a leader, if it had been done by a leader from Sindh or Balochistan, he would have been hanged at Minar-e-Pakistan. We must have to do away with this injustice, as a society based on kufr can survive but not one based on injustice,” he contended.

The law, he emphasized, should be applied equally to all and all the languages be respected and pointed out there was still a “regional approach” in important institutions. He said he did not want to name these institutions but wanted to tell them that they would not remain in those positions forever.

“Saqib Nisar who had slapped a junior judge to tell him how powerful he is is no more on that position. But today, how is he mentioned and where is he now? Where is Molvi Mushtaq today? The conduct shown on the basis of one’s position is not good. In what law it is written that the leaders of a particular area will be treated as darling,” he remarked.

Senator Manzoor Ahmad Kakar wondered what was being done for the betterment of youth, who are over 60 per cent of the total population. He also wished the opposition to have been present in the House on the occasion of golden jubilee celebrations of the Senate.

He contended that the difficulties for the public had compounded and these would aggravate if the politicians did not shun their egos. “You can fight challenges like poor economy and inflation with good intention. If we keep on fighting one another, then there will be no real change for a better tomorrow. We must play a democratic role in democracy,” he said.

Later, the House adopted a resolution, which reads, “We, the members of the Senate of Pakistan, resolve to acknowledge the importance of this commemorative 50th Anniversary Session of the Senate aimed at strengthening national harmony, unity and inclusiveness.

“Express gratitude to the architects of the 1973 constitution, former chairmen, deputy chairmen and senators, staff and other stakeholders towards transforming the Senate into a chamber of parliamentary excellence over the past 50 years.

“Reaffirm our commitment to upholding the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and promoting democratic values, federalism, tolerance and constitutionalism in the country, as envisaged by the father of the Nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

“Pledge to continue our efforts in protecting the rights of the provinces and marginalized communities, promoting gender equality, and strengthening the democratic process in Pakistan.

“Promote constructive dialogue and debate on the issues of national importance and provide policy guidelines to the government for implementation.

“Call upon the civil society, academia, youth, women and the media to provide feedback on the working of the parliament with a view to making it more effective, transparent, open and a repository of people’s trust.

“Express our optimism and confidence that the celebration and commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Senate will strengthen our commitment and resolve towards fulfilling the ideals of provincial autonomy, federalism and aspirations of the people of Pakistan.”

In his concluding remarks, the chairman Senate said: “We must proactively continue with our efforts to bring people of smaller provinces into the national mainstream, meet their basic needs and address discontent, marginalization and deprivation.”

He said: “All hands must be on deck in this national endeavor. We need all federating units fully participating in the cause of national development and progress in a spirit of harmony.”

“The Executive, the Legislature, the Judiciary, Media, Civil Society, and every individual must join hands towards national development and progress.”

He added: “Difficult times call for difficult decisions, but then it’s often the most difficult paths that lead to the most beautiful destinations.”

However, Senator Irfan Siddiqui, belonging to PML-N, expressed dismay over the adoption of the resolution at the end of the golden jubilee celebrations, without mentioning and condemning dictators and judges who sided with violators of the Constitution.

“The resolution failed to condemn the dictators and judges who have violated the Constitution and the fundamental rights of the people of Pakistan. The resolution did not fully reflect the sentiments expressed by the majority of the members in the House,” he said while talking to reporters here after the three-day session was prorogued.

Senator Irfan Siddiqui explained when the draft resolution came to his notice, he submitted an amendment to the Secretary Senate Friday morning, which stated that “This August House condemns all military dictators who abrogated, subverted, or held in abeyance the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, thereby usurping the fundamental rights of the people of Pakistan. Furthermore, the House condemns the so-called judges who endorsed these unconstitutional actions by violating their oath, justifying the actions of the dictators, and allowing them to play with the Constitution according to their ill-motives.”

He said that many members of the Senate, including Farhatullah Babar, Rukhsana Zuberi, Raza Rabbani and Aitzaz Ahsan, expressed similar views. However, despite the request to the chairman Senate to present the amendment, permission was not granted.

Senator Irfan Siddiqui expressed his disappointment on not being allowed to present his amendment and said that we should not be afraid to bring forward these historical facts.

“If we cannot even talk about the past, what is the use of sitting in such an august house? A large majority of the members of the Senate called for a ‘Hall of Shame’ to be created along with the ‘Hall of Fame’. A mural should also be made where the names and pictures of the shameful characters who played with the Constitution for their personal motives should be engraved,” he said.

Senator Siddiqui acknowledged the media’s role in making the nation aware of the Senate and its objectives during the three-day celebrations and urged them to make his amendment a part of history.