As the death of a PTI worker in Faisalabad sparked protests in major cities, Syed Khurshid Shah, the leader of opposition in the National Assembly, advised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resolve the row with Imran Khan through dialogue as “politics of confrontation is weakening the country”.
“I ask you Mian Sahib to come forward and settle this issue through political means as this [political] tussle is weakening the state,” Shah said while speaking on the floor of the house where hardly over two dozen lawmakers were present. At the same time, Shah gave the PTI a piece of advice. “Khan Sahib, you can serve your countrymen while standing here in this house as the only legal way to come into power is elections, not force.”
The opposition leader said that neither Nawaz Sharif nor Imran Khan was in the harm’s way. “In this confrontation, the poor people are the ultimate sufferers,” he said.
Shah said he had asked Premier Nawaz in a recent meeting to counter PTI’s move politically. “No doubt, the PTI wants to topple the government but it’ll not succeed in its bid to take over through such means, therefore, the only option is negotiation to settle all disputes,” he said. “We have fought three wars with our archenemy India but at the end of each war we came on the negotiating table.”
Shah was not much convinced with an explanation given by a PML-N lawmaker from Faisalabad, MNA Rajab Ali Baloch, who said that Faisalabad was a stronghold of the PML-N as 11 MNAs and 20 MPAs of the party belonged to the district, therefore, clashes were obvious.
Rajab Ali said that of nine points, the tragic incident occurred at one point that too when PTI workers shouted slogans against the PML-N leadership. He alleged that PTI workers barged into educational institutions and forcibly shut them down.
The Faisalabad incident marred the debate on the internally displaced persons (IDPs) from tribal regions. After almost six months of the military operation in North Waziristan Agency, the lower house on Monday asked the government to consider the IDPs issue its top priority.
The Q&A session was suspended to debate the sufferings of the IDPs.
Qaumi Watan Party chief Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao proposed formation of a parliamentary panel to oversee the ‘country’s most sensitive issue’. The proposal was endorsed by Ghazi Gulab Jamal, a lawmaker from Orakzai Agency, who asked the government to form such a body immediately.
Shahbuddin Khan, the ruling party’s MNA from Bajaur Agency, said the house might convince the prime minister, the opposition leader and other national leaders to visit the IDPs as this would send a positive signal to these people.
The disgruntled PTI leader, Gulzar Ahmad, said steps should be taken for safe repatriation of the IDPs to their native areas. He said the government’s decision to not seek help from the international community for the IDPs was a mistake.
The house was prorogued a day before its schedule as the speaker was facing court proceedings for alleged rigging in his constituency NA-122.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 9th, 2014.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ