Wednesday May 31, 2023

Joint parliament sitting today: Strongly worded resolution against PTI likely to be adopted

PM Shahbaz Sharif, who appears rarely in the parliament, is likely to attend the session and deliver the policy statement

March 22, 2023
Parliament House— Radio Pakistan/File
Parliament House— Radio Pakistan/File 

ISLAMABAD: The joint sitting of the two-houses of parliament is being held today (Wednesday) in the afternoon as speculations continue that the ruling coalition is working on banning the PTI after its involvement in attacking the state institutions, including the armed forces, judiciary and law-enforcement agencies.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who appears rarely in the parliament, is likely to attend the session and deliver the policy statement about the present situation in the country.

It has been reported that the parliament is to meet in a special joint session to take important decisions to enforce the state’s authority, the government said, a day after the major stakeholders of security agreed with the government that elections to the national and provincial assemblies should be held simultaneously.

The joint sitting of parliament will adopt a strong-worded resolution on condemnation of PTI and its leader’s activities and “unjustifiable favours” he is getting from the judiciary.

The sources indicated that the resolution would pave the way for strong action against PTI Chairman Imran Khan and his supporters. One-point agenda has been issued for the day proceedings that would facilitate discussions on eight issues, including respect for national institutions, law and order and terrorism, economic policy, Kashmir issue, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), population explosion, climate change impacts and foreign Policy.

Highly-placed sources told The News here Tuesday evening that the PTI would boycott the session of parliament that would be adjourned after one-day deliberations.

The sources indicated that the resolution of the joint sitting would be in line with the communique issued in the wake of Monday’s deliberations of the ruling coalition partners.

The resolution would display the will of the people of the country. The coalition had condemned the attacks carried out allegedly on the orders of PTI Chairman Imran Khan on police and Rangers, who were implementing the court orders when they went to his Zaman Park residence in Lahore and when Imran came to Islamabad sessions court along with his supporters three days back.

The collation parties decided to hold the joint sitting of parliament to take up the issues being confronted by the country. The huddle had also strongly condemned a social media campaign being run from abroad against the state institutions, especially against Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir, and asked the overseas Pakistanis not to be a part of this sinister agenda.

The condemnation had come when Prime Minister Shehbaz, in a tweet, accused Imran of “damaging the country and undermining our armed forces and their leadership” and stressed the need for rejecting his political rival’s agenda. He stressed that the “overseas patriotic Pakistanis should raise their voice against the foreign-funded campaign,” and cautioned them against the “poisonous politics” in which they were being used as pawns.

“PTI’s disgusting smear campaign against Chief of the Army Staff General Asim Munir at the behest of Imran Niazi is deserving of the strongest condemnation,” Shehbaz tweeted.

The meeting decided that legal action would be taken against those running the dirty campaign from abroad against the martyrs of Lasbela last August. They said that this behaviour was unacceptable in any society and “this is not freedom of speech”.

The alliance leaders expressed concerns over the treatment meted out to the PTI chairman by the courts, saying: “The treatment of Imran Khan and his colleagues is deepening the impression that the scales of justice are not equal”.

The official statement declared that “two standards of justice in one country are not acceptable”.

Also, the prime minister and other key members of the ruling alliance condemned an audio leak purportedly of a former chief justice of Pakistan and a PTI lawyer, saying that the vulgar conversation about PML-N Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif in the leaked audio was alarming.

While condemning the attacks and violence on police and Rangers on the order of Imran Khan, the huddle not only declared that it was unacceptable but also said that attacking officers and employees of the state institutions by violent and trained groups with petrol bombs, sticks, guns and arms, was very alarming.

“This behaviour is not at all constitutional, legal, democratic and political,” the statement read. “Taking up arms against the state, targeting its officers and men, firing at them, burning vehicles, besieging and ransacking court premises, looting, throwing police vehicles into canals and torturing the on-duty policemen is the height of lawlessness which no state can tolerate,” the meeting declared. The meeting expressed solidarity with the law-enforcement personnel and lauded their services.

It declared that strict action should be taken against the law-breaking elements under the law and no leniency should be shown to them, adding: “Actions against the state cannot be tolerated.”

Subsequently, the meeting, while referring to PTI workers clashes with the law-enforcers, noted that the entire nation had seen that the PTI was not a political party but a group of trained militants of banned organisations.

It said that evidences and proofs were available and it had been decided to take action in this regard according to the law.

The cabinet members had been quoted as saying in the huddle that PTI was not a political party but “rather a gang of militants”, and its “enmity against the state” could not be tolerated.

The government has rejected Imran’s demand for a new election, saying it would be held as scheduled later this year.

The clashes between Imran’s supporters and the security forces have brought a new round of political chaos to the country already in the midst of a crippling economic crisis. Imran says the government and the military are trying to stop him from contesting the next election, scheduled for November. If convicted in a case, Imran could face disqualification from the polls.

Well-placed sources told this scribe that the resolution to be adopted by the joint sitting of parliament would also ask for holding of elections for four provincial assemblies and National Assembly simultaneously in the light of the spirit of Constitution.

It will urge that the polls should take place upon completion of mandated tenure of the National as well provincial legislatures. The comprehensive resolution has been choreographed by Federal Law and Justice Minister Senator Azam Nazir Tarrar and it would be fine-tuned in a high-level meeting of the parliamentary stalwarts today (Wednesday) before the commencement of the sitting.

No fresh legislation has been proposed at this level and, if required, it would be considered afterwards, the sources pointed out.