ISLAMABAD: Referring to Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani recent protest for not being consulted prior to the formation of a parliamentary committee to probe into the Panama Papers, the PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said it might not be called a walkout exactly.
“It was a symbolic message, sent by the Senate that it has to be properly consulted and in this particular case, it was not properly consulted. In spite of that, the Senate decided to go along with the process,” said Senator Babar, while talking to The Express Tribune on Saturday.
Babar said the parliament as a whole was not given due importance and respect and the Senate was ignored even more. “This is reflected by the fact that over the last one year, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has come to the Senate only once while ministers often don’t turn up in the question-hour,” he said.
He recalled an unprecedented action taken by the chairman recently against Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, who was suspended from the Senate proceedings for the remaining days of a session after he did not turn up despite repeated reminders and requests.
Babar lamented that the Senate is being continuously ignored particularly with regard to issues relating to the security establishment. He said the parliament was getting more and more powerless with the passage of time.
He alluded to a growing sense of frustration in the Senate with the inability of the parliament to do whatever it is capable of doing. He said in subsequent sittings of the last session, Rabbani kept on sarcastically referring it to as the ‘inferior house’.
“This was a measure of growing frustration with the inability of the Senate to perform its due role because of the government and the state apparatus and state machinery continuously ignoring the upper house,” he said.
The MQM Senator Tahir Hussain Mashadi also seconded the argument that the government is ignoring the government, adding that the government is equally accountable to the Senate after the 18th amendment.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2016.
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