Political deadlock: Senate session called over crackdown

Upper House likely to discuss ongoing situation on Nov 4

Maryam Usman October 30, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Members of the upper house are likely to take up the current political impasse when the next session opens on the tentative date of November 4 -- two days after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) planned capital lockdown.

The session, requisitioned by opposition parties led by the Pakistan Peoples Party, is also likely to discuss the crackdown and arrests in the capital.

“Imran Khan had made his plans without factoring in the state intervention, which was done and his plan has flopped,” PPP Senator Rehman Malik told The Express Tribune on Saturday.

Malik also said that PTI’s November 2 lockdown will not be successful unless Imran changes his strategy.

The senator said the nation was heading towards deeper crisis because of the deadlock between PML-N and PTI.

He warned that the tussle between the two political parties could result in a national tragedy.

Referring to the recent Quetta incident, Malik said that the political rift had been given a lot of space to the terrorists, which went in their favour.

Giving a similar view, PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said that given the gravity of the situation prevailing in the country at the moment PPP deems it necessary to requisition a Senate session to discuss different aspects of the current situation in which the government has refused to accept the opposition’s ToRs on the Panama Papers.

“There are threats that the lockdown and the crackdown will result in a showdown and we would want to avoid the eminent showdown,” he said.

Senator Ateeq Shaikh of the MQM said that the  upcoming session was no ordinary session and had been summoned by the Senate Chairman himself, as opposed to the President of Pakistan.

“The session does not suit the government at all and is being called to pressurise them in the current political scenario,” said Shaikh.  However, he lauded the impartiality of the courts in the situation.

Cuba visit cancelled

Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani has called off his scheduled visit to the Cuban capital Havana, citing the volatile political situation in the country.

Rabbani was to be accompanied by a delegation consisting of lawmakers Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Nasreen Jalil, Nisar Muhammad Khan, Shahi Syed, Gian Chand and Senate Secretary Amjad Pervez.

A requisition under Article 54(3), Constitution, 1973, was received late Friday evening by the Senate Secretariat signed by Senator Taj Haider among 27 other senators.

In view of the same, the Senate chairman has postponed his official visit in order to perform his constitutional duties and functions.

“The Chairman Senate has examined the requisition and found 26 signatures to be in order, thus meeting the requirements of Clause (3) of Article 54, Constitution, 1973, read with Rules of Procedure and Conduct of the Business in the Senate, 2012. In exercise of his powers under Clause (3) of Article 54, Constitution, 1973, the Chairman, Senate of Pakistan has summoned the session,” the statement said.

The session has been summoned for November 4 at 3:30pm.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2016.


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