Senate condoles martyrdom of Iranian president, FM

Senators criticise judicial remarks against sitting senator

Naeem Asghar May 22, 2024


The Senate passed a resolution on Tuesday offering condolences on the martyrdom Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and others in Sunday’s helicopter crash in northwest of the neighbouring country.

During the session, chaired by Deputy Chairman Syedal Nasir, the members severely criticised the behaviour of the judges of the Supreme Court and demanded ban on the dual nationals from holding posts of judges and other positions in the superior judiciary.

Also during the session, Energy Minister Awais Leghani gave a policy statement, saying that no directive had been issued to stop net metering. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers, meanwhile, staged walkout from the house in protest against an attack on party leader Raoof Hasan and other issues.

At the outset of the session, Sherry Rehman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) presented the resolution to condole the death of Iranian President Raisi, Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian and others. The resolution was approve unanimously.

Speaking on the resolution, Rehman said that President Ebrahim Raisi was a great leader and a friend of Pakistan. The house also offered Fateha for the martyrs of Iranian air crash. The resolution passed by the House would be sent to the Iranian Embassy.

Speaking on a calling attention notice, Energy Minister Leghari said that more than 1,500 megawatts of electricity was being generated in Pakistan through the private solar systems. He dispelled the impression that the government was doing away with net metering policy.

“There is no discussion on the net metering policy in the negotiations with the IMF [International Monetary Fund],” Leghari said, adding that he did not want to discourage investment in the solar systems, rather he would welcome it.

“Solar power has shown good growth in Pakistan. There are 113,000 net metering connections. The prices of solar panels have decreased in the international market; therefore, investment in the solar power is profitable at this time,” he added.

He said that he was giving a policy statement. “If there is a review of the policy, it will be done in a transparent manner after negotiations with the stakeholders. Net metering agreements between Nepra [National Electric Power Regulatory Authority] and consumers will continue.”

Senator Faisal Vawda moved a privilege motion against a Supreme Court judge, over the 'proxy' remarks, asserting his right to speak in the upper house of parliament on any “judicial misconduct”. He stated that he stood by every word he spoke at his recent press conference.

“If it is a crime to point out misconduct, then hang me because I will continue to do so,” Vawda said during a Senate session. He also condemned a lack of accountability in Pakistan. He said that he had united parliament and the entire nation under the banner of constitutional and legal supremacy.

Read Vawda tables privilege motion against Justice Minallah

He then cited example of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was equated with ‘Sicilian Mafia’ and punished for not taking salary from his son. He further said that a judge wrote a letter, asking for 30 VVIP passes for a cricket match, while another judge asked for VIP protocol for his son.

He also mentioned the complaint of a sessions judge against a high court judge. He asked the PTI to investigate why the Islamabad High Court (IHC) was opened at night. He also criticised instances of judicial leniency, overlooking the necessary severe actions.

Vawda also criticised judicial interventions in government policies, citing instances like the suspension of low-cost bread and bike schemes. “I surrender before this house, unless you remove black sheep then things will improve,” he added. He then presented his privilege motion to the law minister and the chair.

Responding to Vawda’s speech, Shibli Faraz of the PTI said that it would have been better if Vawda had spoken about the treatment of the PTI founder in the same vein. He asked whether it would take 40 years to bring it to the fore that false cases were instituted against the opposition.

Irfan Siddiqui of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said that whenever the Constitution was violated, it was validated by the courts. He also cricised the remarks of proxy against a sitting senator. “Your pen should do the talking, not your tongue,” he said.

Siddiqui said that a sector commander of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was as honourable person as a judge. He also took exception at the court’s remarks that the prime minister could also be summoned. “When you demand respect, do the same for others.”

Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarde told the house that that two of ministers had gone to Kyrgyzstan to help the stranded Pakistani students return to the country safely in the wake of violent mob attacks on the foreigners in the Central Asian country.

Also during the session, the opposition protest against an attack on the PTI leader Raoof Hasan. They also protested against the wheat scandal and the passage of the defamation law in Punjab. Later the PTI lawmakers staged walkout. The house was adjourned until Wednesday (today).


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