Sunday September 26, 2021

Non-controversial resolution for satisfaction of TLP: Non-binding motion makes no specific demand from govt

April 22, 2021

ISLAMABAD: A resolution moved by a ruling party lawmaker in the National Assembly is primarily intended to satisfy the proscribed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), makes no substantial and specific demand from the government and contains non-controversial assertions.

The motion tabled by Amjad Ali Khan of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) does not demand the expulsion of the French ambassador from Pakistan but only calls for a debate to discuss the issue of expelling the envoy.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had stated in his recent address to the nation that it was not wise for Pakistan to throw out the French diplomat as any such action would prove to be inconsequential for the French but cause immense problems for the country. It was always projected by the TLP and understood by all and sundry that the religious outfit wants the eviction of the French envoy from Pakistan at all costs. The mayhem created by the group was meant to get this demand accepted. The draft of the resolution, which doesn’t seek the ouster of the French ambassador, was prepared during the talks between the government and TLP representatives, which resulted in the wrapping up of the protests.

The resolution just reiterates what had already been stated by Pakistan, politicians and other segments of society. For example, the motion strongly condemned the publication of blasphemous caricatures by the French magazine Charlie Hebdo in September last year; it regretted the French president’s act of encouraging the elements hurting the sentiments of hundreds of millions of Muslims in the name of freedom of expression; it stated that all the European countries, especially France, should be apprised of the gravity of this matter; and it calls for a detailed discussion with all the Muslim countries on raising the issue collectively on international forums.

There is no dispute about the ‘demand’ contained in the resolution. However, matters relating to international relations should be decided by the State and no person, group or party can exert unnecessary and illegal pressure in this regard. In fact, this inherent right and privilege of the State was challenged and questioned by the recent protests.

Although there was nothing contentious in the resolution, yet it was not sponsored by the government itself. It nominated one of its members to own the motion, which can’t be passed without the support of the government. Obviously, its weight and importance stands curtailed because it has been moved by a private member and not by a minister.

However, regardless of its sponsors, the resolution if passed is non-binding, and hardly ever has such a motion been implemented by any government of Pakistan. Only an issue of public importance is highlighted by the resolution with calls on the government to do certain things.

Rule 169 of the Rules of Procedure & Conduct of Business in the National Assembly says on the conclusion of the discussion, the speaker will put the resolution to vote and if passed a copy of it will be forwarded to the division concerned, which will apprise the National Assembly the action taken on it within a period of six months from the date of it being communicated.

This kind of motion is different from the binding resolutions, mentioned in the Constitution, approved by the National Assembly. They provide for disapproving or extending ordinances and extending the term of the chief election commissioner.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) seek to make the resolution substantive by suggesting further input. If the two sides agree to the new draft, the new resolution may become more meaningful and significant.