The issue of dual nationality caused another conflict between the opposition and the ruling alliance during Tuesday’s Senate session.
While Pakistan Peoples Party senators expressed their reservation, and confusion, over the Supreme Court’s ruling on the issue of lawmakers’ dual nationality, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz staged a walkout to protest against Rehman Malik’s appointment as Advisor to PM on Interior Affairs.
The Supreme Court had ordered the suspension of Malik’s senate membership after he failed to prove that he had renounced his British citizenship.
Speaking on point of order, Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Saeed Ghani requested for the law minister to brief the house on the issue of dual nationalities to clear any confusion.
Everyone approaches the Supreme Court and files an application on miscellaneous issues without proper homework, Ghani observed. “The chief justice is so kind to take [the application] up immediately,” he said, caustically.
The court should, at least, ask the person who challenged dual nationalities of lawmakers to present details to prove their stance, he added.
Senator Tahir Mashhadi of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement also endorsed the idea, stressing that the law minister should explain the matter and highlight laws related to the issue of dual nationality.
In absence of Law Minister Farooq H Naek, Senate Deputy Chairman Sabir Baloch, who was chairing the house, directed the attorney general to brief the house on the issue later in the evening. Attorney General Irfan Qadir, however, could not make it to the house for the proceedings on Tuesday.
On the other hand, PML-N Senator Mushahidullah Khan criticised the government for appointing Rehman Malik as the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Interior Affairs. “The government should at least implement some orders of the courts now … don’t ridicule the court.”
Debate on budget resumes
Later, the house resumed a debate on the budget for the next financial year. Only four lawmakers spoke on the budget – one each from the PPP, MQM, JUI-F and the PML-N – for 90 minutes.
PPP Senator Gull Muhammad Lot initiated the debate on Tuesday, describing the budget as balanced without putting any additional burden on the common man. The government focused on the macro-economic stability in the budget despite numerous challenges, he said.
MQM Senator Abdul Haseeb Khan said the government has taken massive domestic and external loans and the country’s economy is on the brink of collapse.
He suggested that GST should be reduced from 16 to 12% to broaden the tax base. “The government should focus on micro schemes by putting billions of rupees in the new fiscal year’s surplus pool to uplift poor people.”
JUI-F Senator Talha Mahmood, meanwhile, described the budget as a “jugglery of figures.” He said there is no real relief in the budget for the common man, adding that it was full of disappointments. He added that the salaries of government employees should be increased in accordance with the ratio of the price hike. “BISP should be an initiative to eradicate poverty rather than embezzle donated money,” he concluded.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 6th, 2012.
More in PakistanSC orders govt to appoint judges for vacant courts