Thursday August 11, 2022

Tarar alarms parliament over judicial overreach

August 06, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Leader of the House in Senate and Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar Friday said parliament must be defended against overreach of the judiciary and other institutions.

Endorsing the position explained by former chairman Senate and PPP stalwart Mian Raza Rabbani, Tarar said, “Absolutely, we should defend the parliament’s independence and sovereignty against the outreach of other institutions, including the judiciary.”

Earlier, alarmed by what he called continued interference in the parliament’s domain, Rabbani regretted that not only the chairmen of the parliamentary panels issued notices, but directions given by the committees were being stayed. He pointed out that recently a notice was issued to the speaker National Assembly by the Islamabad High Court.

“This is an extremely serious issue wherein the trichotomy of power enshrined in the Constitution is being transgressed,” he maintained. The PPP legislator said parliament was a sovereign institution and not a public limited company that its proceedings could be stayed. He made it clear that the proceedings of the parliamentary committees were part and parcel of procedure of parliament and were covered under Article 69 of the Constitution.

Rabbani explained that it was in this context that he had suggested a meeting of all the former chairmen of the Senate and speakers of the National Assembly to come up with a reasonable way forward. He suggested that the law minister include the issue in the agenda of joint session of parliament, so that the opinion of entire parliament could be sought thereon.

Earlier, responding to a calling attention notice moved by the PTI Senator Mohsin Aziz, Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Dr Aisha Ghous Pasha came down hard on the PTI for ‘playing politics on economy’ and said the economy was well on the path of recovery, as the incumbent government had successfully managed to curtail the ever increasing imports.

The minister contended that the financially-imprudent policies of PTI government had ruined the economy, as the current account deficit was all-time high during the last financial year. She also questioned the logic behind subsidies on electricity and petrol.

“The PML-N led government has reduced the import bill significantly by taking prudent measures while in April, when the incumbent government took over, the country had no money to buy fuel for generating electricity while the government wanted to minimise power loadshedding. This also increased the import bill, which led to pressure on dollar,” she claimed.

As a consequence, Dr Aisha said, the rupee depreciated 23 percent against the US dollar whereas the rupee had dropped 24 percent during the tenure of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government.

Sharing details of 24 percent decrease in value of rupee, she said the value of rupee decreased by 12 percent due to increase in interest rates by the US government and this had affected currencies of other countries as well.

Speaking on his notice, Senator Mohsin Aziz grilled the government for shrinking exports, devaluation of rupee and policies, which led to closure of around 40 textile mills. He decried the lifting of the ban on import of cat and dog food and cosmetics and delay in the appointment of State Bank governor. He said inflation had reached an alarming level of 35 percent.

Meanwhile, the House unanimously passed a resolution urging the international community to review its engagement with India, which was disregarding international humanitarian laws and resolutions on Kashmir dispute.

Moved by Leader of the House Azam Nazeer Tarar, the resolution asked the government to re-energise diplomatic efforts to highlight the Kashmir dispute in the UN Human Rights Council. The resolution strongly rejected India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5th August 2019 saying these were in direct violation of the UN Security Council resolutions and were aimed at changing the demographic structure of IIOJ&K, suppressing the realisation of inalienable right to self-determination of Kashmiris as well as violating their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

Condemning the Indian atrocities, including extrajudicial killings and demolition of homes and private properties as a form of collective punishment in the occupied valley, the resolution deplored the change in the status of Urdu language associated with Kashmiri Muslims and their identity. It demanded resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the aspirations of Kashmiri people and UNSC resolutions.

On a point of public importance, PTI’s Dr Sania Nishtar urged the government to invoke the related programmes and processes and mechanisms to help provide timely relief in a transparent manner under the Ehsaas Programme to the flood-hit people in Balochistan. She also proposed constitution of an oversight committee on this count.