PPP Senator Raza Rabbani on Sunday urged the National Assembly speaker to issue the production order of MNA Ali Wazir of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) so that the latter could represent his constituency during the budget session.
Like his predecessor, NA Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf appears to be reluctant to issue a production order of Wazir, compelling the senior leader of his own party, the PPP, to go public on the issue.
In a statement, Rabbani, a former Senate chairman, pointed out that Wazir had been in custody for over 15 months, and without going into the merits of the charges against him, it was his constitutional right to attend the session of the National Assembly as long as he was a member.
"The rule of production of a member was introduced in the Senate and National Assembly to meet a constitutional requirement as also to comply with international practices,” he added.
The senior PPP leader further stated that his party had “very jealously guarded” Rule 108 which was introduced in the National Assembly in 1992 and Rule 84 in the Senate.
He added that the non-application of these rules amounted to “denial of representation of the constituents”.
"The face and authority of parliament have been eroded and it stands only as an empty building. The institution has to be rebuilt, as Rome rose from ashes, its authority and the authority of its presiding officers has to be restored.”
The PPP senator urged the speaker to “reassert the authority of the house of which he is the custodian”.
He further stated that the National Assembly speaker and Senate chairman must collectively restore parliament in accordance with the constitution, or “otherwise history will not forgive us.”
A day earlier, Rabbani had also taken up the matter on Twitter. “In the opposition, we always demanded it. @BBhuttoZardari addressed a letter to then speaker also. No reason, no explanation good enough to not issue production order,” he had written on his official Twitter handle.
Wazir was elected from the NA-50 constituency in South Waziristan’s tribal district as an independent candidate.
The PTM leader was arrested in Peshawar on December 16 2020 on charges of hate speech against state institutions while addressing a rally in Karachi on December 6 that same year.
On January 30, 2021, the Sindh cabinet had given approval to register a case against Wazir for a “provocative speech”.
In an anti-terrorism court, the counsel for Wazir had contended that his speech was not against the state but its institutions.
At this, the government's lawyer had argued that the institutions were associated with the state.
In November last year, the Supreme Court had granted bail to the MNA in an identical case. However, there were other cases against him.
In April this year, then NA speaker Asad Qaiser had issued the production order for the lawmaker from South Waziristan, two days ahead of the voting on the no-confidence motion against deposed premier Imran Khan and he attended the session.
The order came on the heels of an instant petition filed by MNA Mohsin Dawar in the Islamabad High Court seeking the release of Wazir to cast vote in the no-confidence motion against the then prime minister.
However, last month, the Sindh High Court had granted bail to the PTM lawmaker in the hate speech case registered against him at a Karachi police station.
A two-member bench headed by Justice Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro accepted the bail plea of the incarcerated MNA and asked him to submit a surety bond worth Rs0.5 million.
Wazir’s lawyer Salahuddin had contended that the co-accused, MNA Mohsin Dawar, was being considered for the post of a federal minister while his client was languishing in jail for being “anti-state”.
He had added that his client was arrested in another case after the SC granted him bail in the Sohrab Goth case.
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