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October 17, 2020

War of words in Senate over ‘abrupt’ session

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October 17, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Treasury and the opposition benches in the Senate on the opening day of the 304th session on Friday accused each other of trying to undermine state institutions and working against democracy.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakistan People’s Party and JUI-Fazl decried the government decision to summon the sessions of the two chambers of Parliament just to impede the opposition’s Jinnah Stadium meeting.

PML-N parliamentary leader Senator Mushahidullah Khan on a point of public importance after the Question-Hour said that by summoning the Senate session in the morning and the National Assembly in the afternoon, the government had tried to use Parliament against the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s public meeting in Gujranwala the same day.

“The government has pitched parliament against the opposition. Parliament should not be used for political gains. Parliament should never fail, politics may fail. You can’t stop the PDM and its leadership. You don’t have any idea that the sides are to be changed; you will be sitting here and we will be there,” the PML-N senator said.

He said the government could not stop the opposition now and that certain things had been done and certain others to be executed and that this movement and this caravan could not be halted, as “you had imposed coercion and cruelty on the masses while prices of each and every commodity and medicines had gone sky-rocketing; sugar, which was sold at Rs53 was being sold at Rs110 per kg and flour Rs35 and now Rs80”.

The PML-N senator referred to the recent PTI’s North Punjab show of power at Liaquat Bagh and said that speeches were delivered before empty chairs and dared the ruling party to hold more public meetings.

Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Shibli Faraz while responding to the opposition’s criticism said that the opposition was responsible for the tragic situation.

He said the opposition was responsible for the rise in inflation. It had destroyed government institutions through policies in the last 40 to 50 years and now wanted the government to fix things in two years. He acknowledged inflation was rising but said it was a temporary thing and would be rectified in the next few weeks.

“We will fix it and help the country and government institutions stand on their own feet. The aim of the opposition is not to bring inflation down, fight unemployment but to bring back its previous era. If they think that they can put pressure on us like they did with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) bills, it will not happen,” he said. The opposition was holding the Gujranwala rally just for the protection of “two royal families” that considered it their right to be in power. He said that the opposition represented a public limited company of two families.

The minister alleged that all the corrupt elements were standing against Imran Khan but he (IK) would continue to free this country from the clutches of the looters.

PPP parliamentary leader Senator Sherry Rehman termed the government's move of calling the sessions an attempt to prevent opposition leaders from attending the rally in Gujranwala. She requested Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani to fix Monday for a debate on the resolution against the Pakistan Islands Development Authority Ordinance 2020 which had not been placed in the Senate and none had clue, whether or not, it would be tabled in the National Assembly. She insisted that it was binding on everyone to reject this ordinance.

“They talk about strengthening democracy and Parliament but object to holding of its sessions. You have plotted against democracy always instead of doing politics,” asserted Leader of the House Senator Dr. Shahzd Waseem.

He said the PTI came into power with the masses support and the opposition was in fact at war with the people who brought the party (PTI) into government. He said an opposition leader while sitting in London was saying that the fight was against state institutions, particularly against Army.

Senator Shahzad asked the opposition to be mindful of the fact that the movement would serve India which was waging the fifth generation war against Pakistan be it LoC, sectarianism and provincialism. “People are fully conscious and will not support the movement,” he said.

JUI-F’s Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri questioned the urgency for summoning Parliament sessions and said many Senators from far-flung areas could not attend Friday’s session.