Govt faces opposition ire in Senate over 'unilateral' decisions

Opposition says decisions taken outside the parliament are not legitimate

Shabbir Husain November 11, 2021


The Senate on Wednesday witnessed the opposition’s outcry over the government’s “abrupt” decision to postpone the joint session of parliament and what it called a slew of unilateral decisions in matters that particularly merited a parliamentary debate.

The session was held under the chairmanship of Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani.

At the very outset, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Mian Raza Rabbani berated the ruling party for taking a unilateral decision in holding talks with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), stressing that such decisions could only be taken by taking the lawmakers on board.

Referring to the government’s abrupt decision to defer parliament’s joint session slated for Thursday (today), the PPP’s leader said the government was “trifling” with the parliament’s businesses. “It would be better if the government locked the parliament.”

Later, Leader of the Opposition in the House Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani also lodged protest and expressed surprise at the government's decision to postpone the joint sitting, saying that lawmakers from across the country had gathered for the session only to find that it had been cancelled at the last minute.

Gilani demanded that the opposition be apprised whether the session was taking place or not.

Responding to the criticism, chairman Sanjrani apologised to the House for the inconvenience and maintained that he had no clue regarding the decision. “Only the government can brief on the matter.”

Hitting back at the opposition’s criticism, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan said that lawmakers were not doing any favour upon the House if they were “taking the pains of boarding on special planes to attend the parliamentary sessions”.

Responding to a question during the Question Hour, Ali Muhammad Khan said that National Counter Terrorism Authority was fully functional and ensuring timely threat alerts.

Talking about the steps being taken by the government to improve the internal security of the country in relation to the situation in Afghanistan, he said a border management wing for security on borders is working in the Ministry of Interior.

The House unanimously adopted a resolution, calling for the restoration of 9th November, the birth anniversary of Allama Muhammad Iqbal, as a public holiday.

Read Maryam fires broadside at govt for postponing joint session of parliament

The resolution was moved by Kamil Ali Agha.

The Senate on Wednesday witnessed heated debate between treasury and opposition benches over laying of a copy of the Money Bill, the Tax Laws (Third Amendment) Bill, 2021 in the House, as required under Article 73 of the Constitution.

Before laying the copy, Pakistan Peoples Partly Senator Mian Raza Rabbani, while speaking in the house, alleged that it was a violation of the Constitution, besides breach of the privilege of the entire house.

He said that the money bill was laid in the National Assembly on October 21 and it should be laid simultaneously in the Senate as per Article 73 of the Constitution.

He went on to say that after laying the bill in National Assembly, the Senate had 14 days to propose its recommendations and transmit it to the lower House.

Rabbani said that now the Senate would not be able to give its recommendation as 14 days had already passed.

Responding to the point raised by Raza Rabbani, Chairman Senate Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani said the bill was transmitted to the Senate Secretariat on the same day when it was laid in the National Assembly.

However, he said, the Senate was not in session. He said that the bill was still in the concerned standing committee of the National Assembly and the Senate could propose recommendation in it.

Speaking in the House, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said Senate was not in session when the bill was laid in the National Assembly.

However, he said its copy was transmitted to the Senate which might make recommendations within 14 days.

Later, Ali Muhammad Khan on behalf of Minister In-Charge for Finance and Revenue moved that the Senate might make recommendations, if any, to the National Assembly on the Money Bill, the Tax Laws (Third Amendment) Bill, 2021, as required under Article 73 of the Constitution.


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