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Thursday June 20, 2024

Opposition, treasury in Senate advocate reconciliation

Senator Ali Zafar suggested that the process of lawmaking needs to be undertaken strictly in accordance with the Rules of Business, Constitution and the law

By Mumtaz Alvi
April 27, 2024
An interior view of the National Assembly in Islamabad. — AFP/File
An interior view of the National Assembly in Islamabad. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Senate echoed on Friday with calls from the treasury and opposition for reconciliation by burying the politics of confrontation.

Legislators from across the aisle called for joint efforts to revive the prestige of the House and focus on how to help the country tackle issues like poverty, economic quagmire and intolerance.

PPP’s Parliamentary leader Senator Sherry Rehman, while opening the discussion on President Asif Ali Zardari’s address to joint sitting of parliament, cited the president’s message of turning a new page in history to collectively address the national challenges. She emphasized, “We all should welcome President Zardari’s address to joint session of parliament, where he called on all political leaders to turn a new page, hold dialogue and aim for much needed a political reset: his stress on political dialogue, unity and an end to polarisation for the sake of country is the only way forward in these challenging circumstances.”

PMLN parliamentary leader in the House Senator Irfan Siddiqui, taking part in the discussion, urged the PTI to hold talks to solve the crises facing the country, including ailing economy. He maintained that politicians do face ups and downs, and governments come and go but they have to leave some traditions and legacy for their future generations. About the calls for reconciliation, he insisted that it was a two-way process. “We are ready to extend an olive branch to PTI and shake hands, but how can this be possible when your hands are in your pocket?” He also urged the party of former prime minister Imran Khan to come forward for Pakistan and “let us sit together”. Referring to the warning of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur, which he hurled a day earlier that he would attack Islamabad, Senator Siddiqui said that PTI should do away with such tone and language. He continued that if the PTI can shake hands with its worst political enemies of the past, including Mahmood Khan Achakzai and Maulana Fazlur Rehman, then why it cannot sit with the incumbent government in the interest of the country. In a reconciliatory tone, PTI’s parliamentary leader Senator Ali Zafar emphasised that there was a dire need for working together while keeping aside political differences or important matters of grave concern would be completely forgotten and ignored. Parliament, he noted, had lost its integrity and became laughing stock for foreign countries because it had been functioning in total negation of the Rules of Business in the last two years. Underlining the need to do away with the practice of ‘bulldozing of legislation’, he said various laws were passed which were neither discussed nor referred to any committee or were allowed to be reviewed or read by the senators and instead were passed hastily only for the benefit of a few over majority. Such instances, he noted, have seriously caused damage to prestige of parliament which further culminated in people losing faith in the legislature. “I call upon the Leader of the House that let us work together to do away with the concept of bulldozing legislation, which I call tyranny of the majority that dented Senate’s sanctity and goodwill of lawmakers as well,” he said. Senator Ali Zafar suggested that the process of lawmaking needs to be undertaken strictly in accordance with the Rules of Business, Constitution and the law.