Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid (PML-Q) on Thursday threatened to quit the ruling coalition if the government doesn’t halt massive power outages.
The Senate resumed its session in Islamabad on Thursday with Chairman Syed Nayyar Husain Bukhari presiding over it. During the session, the PML-Q threatened to part ways with the government over colossal electricity shortages and the current load shedding crisis.
Senator Kamil Ali Agha of PML-Q said on a point of order that the issue is very serious because it has endangered the lives of the Pakistani people. “It is impossible for the members of PML-Q to take part in the debate over the presidential address as the issue of load-shedding is more important to discuss. In fact the president should take notice of the issue,” said Agha.
Agha protested against the absence of the water and power minister at the session, demanding that the chair take notice of his constant absence from the Upper House’s sessions. “Load-shedding has disturbed the country enormously and the minister doesn’t even have time to respond to our questions and tell us the reasons for this,” he remarked.
“Those who are criticising Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and holding the current government responsible for the crisis should recall that the Musharraf regime did not produce even a single megawatt and my friends (PML-Q) were part of that setup as well. Why didn’t they advise Musharraf?” queried leader of the house Jahangir Badar, in response to the PML-Q protest.
Meanwhile, Pakistani Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) staged a walkout against Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.
“Now when the president, Speaker National Assembly and senate chairman have received the attested copies of the full verdict, the president should name a new prime minister, what is he waiting for?” asked PML-N’s Zafar Ali Shah rhetorically before the walkout.
Law Minister Farooq Naek countered that Gilani is still an elected member of the National Assembly and a prime minister according to the Constitution. Naek reiterated that the Supreme Court in its short and detailed judgment had not disqualified the prime minister. He said under the observations of the Supreme Court, the matter lies with the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Election Commission (ECP).
Later in the proceedings, the Senate unanimously passed the Medical and Dental Council Amendment Bill‚ 2012. The bill is meant to amend The Medical and Dental Council Ordinance‚ 1962.
Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, minister for national regulations and services, while briefing the house over the content of the bill said that it will help private sector medical colleges and hospitals join the mainstream and would hold them accountable for providing an environment conducive to producing good doctors.
The House also resumed debate on the president’s address to the joint session of the parliament.
MQM’s Nasreen Jalil said that the president’s fifth address is an indication that democracy is booming in Pakistan and the credit goes to all political forces. She added that the strengthening of democratic institutions is imperative for sustainable development in the country.
Senator Kulsoom Parveen congratulated the president on his historic address to the joint session of parliament for the fifth consecutive time.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 11th, 2012.