PML-N set to create furor in Senate again

Former ruling party reluctant to launch countrywide protests fearing lack of response

Sardar Sikander October 09, 2018
Former ruling party reluctant to launch countrywide protests fearing lack of response. PHOTO; FILE

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is going to hold a protest today at the upper house of the parliament against arrest of its chief Shehbaz Sharif, who is in the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) custody in connection with a mega housing scandal.

Earlier on Monday, the PML-N, after its Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting in Lahore, announced to launch a countrywide protest campaign against the arrest. However, fearing a lack of public participation, the PML-N is avoiding from going ahead with the countrywide protest plan.

“But creating hue and cry in and outside the parliament is definitely an option,” said a well-placed source while referring to the party’s ‘aggressive posturing’ planned for today’s Senate proceedings.

The Senate session is scheduled for 3 pm while the PML-N leaders are expected to hold a meeting with opposition parties before the session to seek their support.

PML-N to protest outside Punjab Assembly today

Discussions with senior PML-N leaders indicate that the ex-ruling party lawmakers in the upper house would push for adjournment of the session and try not to allow the Senate to take up its regular agenda.

During the last proceedings on Monday, the opposition parties staged a walkout against Shehbaz’s arrest that led to the adjournment of the session till Wednesday (today).

“We would deem it our success if we manage to disrupt the regular proceedings again and make sure that discussion on Shehbaz’s arrest take precedence over anything else before getting the proceedings adjourned,” said a PML-N senator.

“We have been assured of support from major opposition force like the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) as well as smaller opposition groups,” the source added.

Raja Zafarul Haq, the PML-N chairman and leader of opposition in Senate, said it is right of the opposition forces to protest over any given issue while observing norms of democracy and decency.

“All the opposition forces feel that PML-N is being unfairly targeted. We have a right to raise voice of dissent inside and outside the Parliament,” he added.

PML-N threatens agitation over Shehbaz's arrest

Zafarul Haq did not confirm or deny that PML-N had any immediate plans to launch countrywide agitation. “Our CEC has met in Lahore (on Monday) and has made it clear that if PML-N’s witch hunting does not stop we will exercise our democratic rights and stand up to the highhandedness of the rulers.”

A senator from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said the government would try to make sure that the Senate takes up the unfinished agenda from the Monday’s proceedings besides taking up Wednesday’s regular agenda. “Most of the Senate agenda was left unfinished due to opposition’s attitude. If this trend continues, the unfinished business would keep piling up,” the source said.

The last Senate proceedings on Monday continued for over two-and-a-half hours while the debate on Shehbaz’s arrest consumed nearly two hours. The Senate’s business for Monday included the introduction of 24 bills, five motions and four resolutions but most of this agenda remained unaddressed which will have to be taken up in today’s session.

This was in addition to regular agenda that included consideration of admissibility of three adjournment motions, introduction of two motions, two calling attention notices, presentation of a committee report, adoption of a standing committee report and discussion on an adjournment motion.


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