For the second consecutive day, the treasury and the opposition benches in the National Assembly continued to debate on a statement of the prime minister, who expressed intention to discuss conduct of the judges on the floor of the lower house.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday strongly criticised the superior judiciary for labelling elected representatives as ‘thieves and looters’ and also asked for a debate in the House on whether the government has the right to take legislative decisions.
“Does this House have no power to legislate? Should approval be sought before legislating? It would be better if the House debated this issue. As far as the executive is concerned, the government’s officials are summoned to the courts and they are humiliated,” he had said on the floor yesterday.
The government on Tuesday defended the statement while the opposition lawmakers strongly criticised the move and termed it a bad omen for the country.
Parliament cannot make law conflicting with Constitution: CJP
Quoting the PM’s speech, the Jamaat-e-Islami’s parliamentary leader Sahibzada Tariqullah said the anti-judiciary speeches that were earlier made on the streets were now being made in parliament.
“The situation in the country is heading towards the tussle. The judiciary is a very major pillar of the state. What would be the outcome of this conflict? The situation which is developing here is not good for the country,” he said.
Tariqullah said instead of discussing the basic issues of the general public, campaigns had been initiated against each other. He said the prime minister and the ministers rarely visit parliament, adding that it was parliamentarians who were compromising importance of this institution.
“These two parities’ [PML-N and PPP] ruled the country three times each. What they did for the supremacy of parliament,” he asked, adding that he feared that the things were moving in the wrong direction.
Speaking on the floor of the House, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said all the institutions should work within their constitutional domain.
“All institutions should remain within their constitutional limits. Should the country go ahead with the mistakes for the next 70 years which have been made in the past 70 years?” She asked.
Listing these ‘mistakes’, Aurangzeb said politicians were booked for stealing cattle, sweets were distributed after Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s hanging and oaths were taken under military dictators. “Should we not learn from these mistakes and move on,” she asked.
Aurangzeb said the former premier Nawaz Sharif was sent packing on the issue of Iqama while the government was called ‘the Sicilian Mafia’ and the former was termed a ‘godfather’. “Is it not rejection of the public mandate?” she questioned.
She said it was a sin not a mistake on part of some judges to take oath under military ruler Pervez Musharraf’s Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO). However, she said, they respect the court because they are the guardians of the Constitution.
PM slams judiciary for labeling MPs as ‘thieves and looters’
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Ghulam Sarwar Khan said his analysis suggested that instead of strengthening the institutions, the individuals strengthened themselves in the name of democracy.
“Business empires were strengthened in the name of democracy and every institution is politicised and efforts are being made to politicise the two remaining institutes,” he said.
Khan said the superior judiciary in the case of money laundering and looting the country gave judgment against a PM and legislation was made to enable him to head the party and this too was done in the name of democracy. He asked for conducting accountability of the persons since 1985.
Govt bound to privatize PIA by April 15
Minister for Privatisation Daniyal Aziz said according to the PIAC Conversion Act 2016, adopted unanimously by parliament, the government is bound to complete the privatisation of the Pakistan International Airline (PIA) by April 15.
Responding to a calling attention notice, he clarified that the government will retain 51% shares of the national flag carrier while the management control will also remain with it.
He, therefore, said the process will not affect the employees. “A full government owned company is also being established under which all the fixed assets of the PIA will be managed. The shares of the PIA will be sold out after due process,” he added.
Army troops deputation in KSA
Over a point raised by PTI’s Dr Shireen Mazari, the National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq said he is writing a letter to the Minister of Defence to give the House a briefing over deployment of a contingent of the Pakistan Army troops in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Earlier, Mazari feared that the Pakistan Army had been sent to fight in the Yemen’s conflict.
“Why the defence minister is not telling for what purpose the army has been deputed in Saudi Arabia? This parliament had opposed sending troops to KSA. The parliament should be told as on what places the army would be deployed,” she asked. The session of the National Assembly has been prorogued for indefinite period.
NA passes five bills
The NA also passed five bills including two government bills moved as supplementary agenda on Tuesday. The house passed The Health Services Academy (Restructuring) Bill, 2017, The Islamabad Healthcare Regulation Bill, 2017, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2017 (section 489F), the Service Tribunals (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and the Pakistan Courier and Logistics Regulatory Authority Bill, 2017.