ISLAMABAD: An otherwise dull joint session of parliament, which has been convened to discuss the contours of the country’s foreign policy, witnessed some fireworks sparked by the Awami National Party (ANP) against the decision to equally sharing the burden of power outages by the provinces.
“We do not want a federation where we are asked to share only darkness and not light,” said ANP Senator Haji Muhammad Adeel while rejecting the decision of Second Energy Conference.
Captain (retd) Muhammad Safdar, son-in-law of PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif jumped in to disrupt Adeel’s speech. Immediately, he was joined by Hanif Abbasi and within seconds the house resonated with slogans against the ANP.
“We will not hear such words,” said Safdar.
Abbasi also shot back at Adeel: “Punjabis are not to be blamed for every ill.”
Despite sloganeering, Senator Adeel continued his speech while other lawmakers tried to pacify the PML-N legislators.
Such was the state of affairs at one point in time that Senator Adeel took a jibe at Safdar: “Damaad jee baith jao (son-in-law, please sit down) — to which the house broke into laughter and parliamentarians resorted to desk-thumping.
“Why should there be equitable sharing of outages?” Senator Adeel questioned while saying his province, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, had been producing electricity and gas and its resources had been ‘usurped’ during the last 60 years.
Criticising the angry PML-N lawmakers, he said the party signed the proposals of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) when US and British ambassadors met its leadership – but then suddenly changed its stance when the matter came to parliament.
“They (the Sharif family) fled the country during testing times by signing an agreement (with Pervez Musharraf) and then started falsifying it. The ANP, however, has no such record,” he said.
In response to ANP’s criticism, MNA Safdar said sarcastically: “Perhaps we have no idea regarding the worth of independence and the sacrifices our forefathers made to get this country”.
“If someone does not like this country, he can leave since we want this Pakistan,” he added.
Meanwhile, members of parliament raised several issues on point of orders since there was no headway over the PCNS recommendations.
Maulana Ghafoor Haideri of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) called for evolving a strategy to address the deteriorating law and order situation across the country.
Senator Kamil Ali Agha from the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) projected his party’s proposals to steer the country out of the energy crisis while lamenting that their “proposals were not taken seriously”.
“The formula given by Chaudry Shujaat Hussain can help overcome load shedding in four months,” he asserted.
Yasmeen Rehman from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) condemned US drone attacks and said Nato supply should be reopened on “conditions which are beneficial for Pakistan”.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 11th, 2012.