As barbs fly, Senate plunges into chaos

Fawad, Mushahidullah continue their tongue-lashing

Sardar Sikander October 11, 2018
Fawad, Mushahidullah continue their tongue-lashing. PHOTO: APP

ISLAMABAD: Members of treasury and opposition benches continued to trade barbs on Wednesday, again plunging the Senate session into chaos before it was adjourned for an indefinite period.

However, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was unable to carry out its threat to adjourn the session by staging a walk-out in protest against the arrest of the party’s president, Shehbaz Sharif, leading to a lack of quorum.

Tensions between the treasury and opposition benches brewed after Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry was asked by PML-N Senator Mushahidullah Khan to apologise for vilifying him and his family.

Fawad, whose accusations against Mushahid prompted Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani to adjourn the Senate session last week, again refused to apologise, insisting his remarks about Mushahid and his family members were authentic.

“I (simply) said that he (Mushahid) got his entire family inducted into the PIA (Pakistan International Airlines). Did I say anything wrong? Why should I apologise. FIA (Federal Investigation Agency) is still investigating this matter.”

An infuriated Mushahid ‘challenged’ Fawad, saying that if he could prove that even six members of his family were serving in PIA, he would resign.

“If he fails to prove this allegation, he must resign.”

He asked Fawad to return after the FIA investigation was complete.

Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani tried to calm both sides but neither of them refused to back down.

At one point, the chairman Senate even warned the information minister that he could be expelled from the house if he persisted with hostility (towards the opposition).

The opposition staged a walkout against the information minister’s attitude, but PML-N’s plan to get the session adjourned did not succeed after lawmakers of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) returned to the house just five minutes after the walk-out, prompting PML-N senators to return.

Fawad and Mushahid briefly restrained themselves from accusing each another of foul play, but as soon as the prayer break ended both resumed the hostilities.

During the break, the information minister shared with the media names of PIA employees who were allegedly members of Mushahidullah’s family.

Fiery Senate session likely today

“This is unprecedented … I have spent 26 years as a member of the Senate but have never seen such attitude. I am shocked. It appears to be a ruse to divert attention from real issues,” remarked PPP leader and former chairman Senate Raza Rabbani.

Rabbani requested the chairman Senate to intervene, but the chairman struggled to maintain order in the house.

The information minister again targeted Mushahidullah during his press conference, but refrained from naming the PML-N senator.

“Some people have gotten their entire family inducted into PIA, who spent £50,000 on medical treatment in government funds. If you (the opposition) insist that whenever corrupt people are taken to task, democracy comes under attack … this won’t help … Strict accountability will continue and corrupt (elements) would (continue to) be taken to task.”

Shehbaz’s arrest

PML-N Senator Mushahidullah Khan criticised the authorities for arresting PML-N chief Shehbaz Sharif and called for his immediate release.

Mushahid pointed out that although Shehbaz had been summoned by NAB in the Saaf Pani case, he was actually arrested in the Ashiana Housing scam.

PML-N’s failed strategy

The PML-N had planned to influence the proceedings of the upper house of parliament on Wednesday, but the plan did not work.

According to a PML-N insider, senior party leaders in the Senate showed lack of interest in Wednesday’s proceedings.

Nawaz's projects cannot be audited by Shehbaz: Fawad Chaudhry

Chairman of PML-N and Leader of the Opposition in Senate Raja Zafarul Haq attended the Senate session just for half an hour.

The session continued for nearly four hours.

According to the PML-N insider, after Speaker of the National Assembly Asad Qaiser summoned the NA session (on October 17) and issued Production Order of Shehbaz, the PML-N had no reason to continue with the planned protest.

Senate adopts report

The Senate unanimously adopted the fourth and final report on ‘Holding of Free, Fair and Transparent General Elections – 2018 and its Security’.

Later, the Senate session was prorogued sine die.


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ