ISLAMABAD: The joint opposition in Senate rejected government’s sneak supplementary agenda and said the government was bulldozing bills in the Senate and was trying to bring National Assembly’s chaos here, but the opposition rejected government’s artificial majority.
“What is happening in the National Assembly and during joint sessions is worse than the kind of martial law assemblies that we have seen,” said parliamentary leader of the PPP in Senate Sherry Rehman.
She was addressing a press conference along with the opposition senators Tahir Bizinjo of National Party, Mushtaq Ahmed of Jammat-e-Islami, Kamran Murtaza of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUIF) and Senator Mian Raza Rabbani after the passage of the bills on the supplementary agenda of the day.
Sherry said what was left of parliament in the Senate was destroyed today when the treasury introduced a supplementary agenda at 12:35pm on Friday, without laying bills, and summoning members they had kept back to bulldoze a person-specific HEC bill and then introduced a NAB ordinance on the supplementary agenda, despite the absence of certain members due to the Friday prayers. “Instead of sending bills to committee as is the norm, the government introduced a sneaky supplementary agenda right before Friday prayers, which was clearly pre-planned and in direct contradiction to the assurances given to the leader of the oppositions office that all bills will be tabled as per agenda, and that they will go to standing committees,” she regretted.
Sherry said it was clear that by attacking the Senate, the government was not ready to allow the provinces to speak and breathe, nor was it giving the opposition the right to ask questions about Pakistan’s sovereignty, whether it was about the IMF or amnesty agreements.
“We are not allowed to question the government’s position on issues which have significant consequences on the future of our country. Sindh is being marginalised and its grievances are not being addressed,” she said.
Senator Sherry said the government was trying to make the Senate ineffective and the bills bulldozed today were not even circulated amongst the members. She said even the IMF had asked for bills to be passed, and was no longer accepting legislation passed through ordinances.
Unfortunately, she said, that was the only way this government knows how to govern the country. “Their mala fide intent is obvious from how they tried to convert opposition’s majority into minority, but we will fight back on the floor of the Senate,” she added. “We will not let them pass these bills without consultations, especially the bill regarding State Bank’s Autonomy,” she said.
Senator Tahir Bizanjo said the Senate chairman also expressed his surprise over the supplementary agenda of the day. “The government deliberately destroys the atmosphere of the upper house of the Parliament, which is not acceptable,” he said.
Senator Mushtaq Ahmed said Senate chairman also had reservation about bringing the supplementary agenda. “Not a single senator of the ruling party has read what the bills were, and the government wants to make Senate a rubber stamp also,” he said.
Former chairman Senate Raza Rabbani termed it unfortunate day as earlier National Assembly had been turned into a laughing stock with bulldozing of legislation there. And the same things were done at the joint session of the parliament, and now they also deliberately turned the house ineffective which represents the provinces. “Today they bulldozed the legislation and misled the opposition while turning the majority into minority,” he said.
He said that the opposition will fight back and will not allow any minister to speak. “No more smooth sailing in the Senate,” he said. Senator Kamran Murtaza said whenever the bill comes, the agenda be disbursed to all the members but the agenda did not circulate among the members.
He said if the bill was passed without deliberations then they passed the bill through fraud. “Today was also black day in the Senate and a continuation of happening in the joint session of the Parliament.”
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