A host of opposition and allied parties refused to attend Senate proceedings on Wednesday as protests against the government’s ‘apathy’ over on the law and order situation in Karachi continued for a third day.
The Pakistan Peoples Party was left only with Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid senators in the upper house as almost all political parties – including key allies of the government the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Awami National Party (ANP) and opposition parties the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Jamiat-Ulema-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) and the National Party – staged a walkout in protest.
Earlier, the ANP and MQM had threatened to boycott the remaining proceedings of the ongoing Senate session if the prime minister refused to take them into confidence over the government’s plans to control the deteriorating law and order situation in the country.
“We have been carrying out unproductive business since the house kicked off a debate on the issue,” Senator Zahid Khan of the ANP remarked. Opposition parties, along with lone-MQM Senator Nasreen Jalil, promptly joined hands with the ANP in its protest. They also chose to ignore Leader of the House Jahangir Badr, who tried to assure lawmakers that the prime minister and the law minister would brief them on the situation soon.
Protesting lawmakers refused to attend the session, especially due to the absence of Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and the Law Minister Farooq H Naek.
A day earlier, Naek had assured the house he would convey the grievances of members over Karachi’s law and order situation to the prime minister during Wednesday’s cabinet meeting.
After three points of order, which consumed only six minutes, Senate Chairman Nayyar Hussain Bokhari adjourned the house till 4pm today (Wednesday).
Two top ranking officers had been appointed by former premier Yousaf Raza Gilani in diplomatic missions abroad without fulfilling any obligatory criteria for the high-profile posts, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said in her written reply to the Senate.
The officials were posted abroad without passing the mandatory Central Superior Services (CSS) examination, Khar explained. Gilani appointed Maliha Makhdoom, daughter of Senior PPP Minister Makhdoom Amin Faheem, as first secretary in Dublin, Ireland, while Salis Kiani was appointed as Minister Community Welfare London.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 15th, 2012.