At last, ruling party lawmakers gain access to PM

Nawaz faces torrid time at parliamentary party meeting

Riazul Haq August 05, 2016
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif looks on during a lecture on Sri Lanka-Pakistan Relations in Colombo, Sri Lanka January 5, 2016. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte/Files

ISLAMABAD: After more than two years, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif came face to face with some of his party’s backbenchers at the PML-N parliamentary party meeting, and the encounter was hardly a pleasant one – filled with anger and recrimination. Since early 2014 when the last such parliamentary party meeting was held, PML-N MPs have complained about a lack of access to PM Nawaz and federal cabinet members.

Over 250 PML-N parliamentarians participated in the meeting where the prime minister spoke at length about development projects in the country, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

We must understand concerns of others: PM

According to one participant, the prime minister spoke for over an hour and then decided to wrap up the meeting. But some lawmakers insisted that the premier listen to their problems.

Relenting to their demands, the PM assured them that they would get half-an-hour to address their grievances. However, it was the episode involving Toba Tek Singh MNA Chaudhry Asadur Rehman’s that marred the PM’s speech.

The PM snubbed him and asked him to sit down. But he was adamant and said, “I am not a schoolboy that you are silencing me in this way,” the participant said narrating the incident.

Another lawmaker, on the condition of anonymity, said several lawmakers complained to the PM that nobody from the cabinet “listens” to their problems.

Earlier, the prime minister told the lawmakers that a special joint session of parliament on Kashmir was on the cards in which the Hurriyat Conference leadership based in Pakistan would be especially invited.

CPEC a gift from China to Pakistan: PM Nawaz

The PM also said political parties planning to hold another sit-in would gain nothing. “People are mature and cannot be detracted anymore. Only performance -- and not sit-ins -- can bring success,” the prime minister said.

He told the participants that the government has concluded its last review with the IMF and he desired to say goodbye to the IMF as the country had achieved self-sufficiency.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2016.


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