Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah demanded documents from Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar that prove that Article 245 of the Constitution has been invoked many times during recent years, as he claimed in his speech on Tuesday in the lower house.
During Friday’s session of the National Assembly, Shah said, “I sought that document but so far the interior ministry did not respond to my request,” he complained to Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.
Referring to the opposition leader’s concerns regarding the Punjab government’s conduct, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the government would be responsible if any untoward situation happens on August 14. “Who is derailing the democratic system?” he asked rhetorically.
He alleged that the Punjab government, which is an extension of the federal government, is conspiring against democracy and it has become a real danger to the political system. He advised the government to show patience and tolerate this bitter situation. “You did not even adhere to those who wanted reconciliation.”
Pointing towards Khursheed Shah and referring to Jamaat-e-Islami, he said if the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government is not withdrawing Article 245 despite the concerns of reconciliatory parties, then why would the prime minister listen to PTI.
He said the government is detaining party workers in the lead-up to the Azadi March. “Our phones are being bugged. You are committing the same atrocities you had faced during Musharraf’s era. We still have a dictatorial regime.”
He also claimed that imposing a ban on phone services is also a conspiracy of the government. About the Pakistan Awami Tehreek’s Youm-e-Shuhada on August 10, he said Tahirul Qadri’s workers should not be restricted. The police in plain cloths are harassing workers, he added. “You cannot block the twin cities ahead of Independence Day and similar steps, which are under consideration for Lahore and Multan, are not acceptable.”
Saeeda Warsi’s resignation
During the session, PML-N’s Marium Aurungzeb paid tribute to Saeeda Warsi, the United Kingdom’s first Minister of Faith and the first Muslim to serve as a cabinet minister, for stepping down in protest of the UK government’s policy on the conflict in Gaza. She said that whenever the country faced dictatorial regimes, women played the role of frontrunners. “Fatima Jinnah took a stand against Ayub’s regime, Benazir Bhutto faced Ziaul Haq’s atrocities and Begum Kalsoom Nawaz challenged the dictatorial rule of Pervez Musharraf. Now a daughter of Pakistan—Saeeda Warsi—raised her voice against Israeli atrocities on innocent Palestinians.”
She advised the government to invite Warsi to address the house. PTI’s Shah Mahmood Qureshi seconded Aurungzeb and lauded Warsi’s bold step.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th,2014.