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September 28, 2020

Stalemate further deepens on GB legislation

National

September 28, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The stalemate enhanced further with rejection by parliamentary parties in the National Assembly a proposal for holding a meeting of Speaker National Assembly’s on the question of legislation regarding upcoming polls in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).

The government is now mulling over to approach the apex judiciary for constitution of a commission to look into the matter which is of paramount national interest. The government has already announced to hold elections in the area on November 15 when the whole GB will be in grip of intense cold and snow falling.

Well placed parliamentary sources told The News here Sunday that the government has planned to summon National Assembly session on October 5 while the Senate will also be in session in the first week of next month where the legislation for GB has been planned to undertaken. The sources said that the authorities have also approached the political leadership in GB to bring it on board for the legislation but most of the parties have asked the interlocutors to knock the doors of their respective national leadership.

The sources reminded that the legislation for GB has become imperative and essential since India has been trying to make the non-representative status of the GB bone of new contention although it has been claiming on the area that Pakistan had always rejected with contempt. The Gilgit-Baltistan area’s proximity with neighbouring Ladakh where standoff between China and India has already turned ugly shape, is a source of concern for the administration.

Interestingly security operates that is working closely to the sensitive areas gathered the information that enemy has planned to destabilize the area through various intrigues including one exploiting the process of upcoming polls in the area. The parliamentary group’s leaders were invited for consultations but the meeting became target of controversies and Prime Minister Imran Khan was asked establish contact with the fellow parliamentary groups. He asked National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar to convene a meeting of the group leaders which he too could join.

Accordingly NA Speaker convened the meeting and he wrote letter to the group leaders except the PTI chief.

The sources pointed out that the Speaker was already subject to dispute due to his role in a controversial legislation done in the joint sitting of the two houses of Parliament and on earlier occasions.

The opposition was united in opposing the government this time around and had already gathered under the fold of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), decided to challenge the authority of the Speaker in convening such meeting. It opted to boycott the meeting which was planned for today (Monday). The speaker after consultations with his PTI party high command called off the meeting without assigning any reason.

It was a major embarrassment for the office of Speaker that the parliamentary groups didn’t oblige the Speaker by responding his letter written individually to the leaders.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi who was invited on behalf of the PTI was the sole recipient of the letter who was in agreement for attending the meeting but he too didn’t respond in black and white, the sources said.

The sources pointed out that after the humiliation of the office of the Speaker, now the government will have to rethinking about summoning of the National Assembly and Senate in first week of October. In the absence of working relationship between government and opposition on any echelon, crisis like situation has come into being.

The sources said that the opposition parliamentary groups have also decided not to turn up in the consultative group meetings normally convened by the Speaker before the commencement of the session traditionally to discuss the schedule of working in the session. Some of the leaders declined to attend the phone calls made by the Speaker in recent days, the sources added.