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Thursday June 20, 2024

Senate echoes with fervent calls for national unity

Gilani gave floor to Leader of Opposition Syed Shibli Faraz, who insisted that with unity they could take country forward

By Mumtaz Alvi
April 26, 2024
An image showing an interior view of the Senate hall. — Senate website/File
An image showing an interior view of the Senate hall. — Senate website/File

ISLAMABAD: On the first day of 337th session of the Senate on Thursday, the opposition and the government agreed to work together on a host of issues to pull the country out of multiple challenges, including the economic mess.

Yousaf Raza Gilani presided over the first regular session after the Senate elections, transacted business and formed a special committee consisting of Farook H Naek, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar and Ali Zafar to furnish its report concerning the money bill, tax laws (amendment) bill, 2024, with the House by Monday.

Gilani then gave the floor to Leader of the Opposition Syed Shibli Faraz, who insisted that with unity they could take the country forward, as it was not the task of a single person or party.

He contended that democracy, economic stability and sovereignty were interlinked. He questioned the legitimacy of the present assemblies and demanded a thorough investigation into the shocking discrepancies between forms 45 and 47 in the recently held general elections. He called for giving the mandate to those who in real terms deserved it.

Deploring continuous violation of the law and Constitution, he cited the examples of his party leaders and workers and said in recent history, political workers in such a large numbers were not put behind bars or subjected to persecution.

He narrated how the PTI was deprived of its iconic election symbol and ridiculous and confusing symbols like brinjal, tomato and pumpkin were allotted to its candidates but the majority gave the mandate to his party but the mandate was stolen through wide-scale manipulations in Forms-47. He said despite all that, the PTI was still the single largest parliamentary party in the Senate after counting those who will come from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and had significant number of members in the National Assembly as well. “We are a reality. You cannot set us aside”.

He was hopeful that sanity will prevail and the country will return to the rule of law instead of continuing with ‘might is right’ that will take the country nowhere.

Foreign Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar, who is also the Leader of the House in the Senate, slammed the PTI for its involvement in the May 9 incidents and remarked, “You committed a blunder. You challenged the state itself and put it in danger”. He said the PTI should not have incited the attacks on GHQ and Corps Commander’s House. “You should not have gone to this extent in politics.” Dar asked the PTI to prove its innocence before the courts of law.

He rejected the criticism over rigging in the elections and asked how elections were fair in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and unfair in Punjab. However, he endorsed Shibli’s view that all the political forces should join hands to steer the country out of economic quagmire, but wished Shibli would have said so two or three years back.

“Let us work together. Let us get Pakistan out of quagmire. It is doable and we are hopeful, as Pakistan is blessed with huge natural resources and has a bright future. It all depends on how we act. Let us bury the past”.

Faisal Vawda, who was administered oath as senator along with Maulana Abdul Wasay, having made his way to the House as an independent candidate in recent elections, said: “I was part of PTI for a long time and the chairman taught me a lot in politics and I wish he could have listened to me at that time.”