Senate session: 20th Amendment deferred over lack of consensus

Saturday, February 18th, 2012 10:00:30 by


Owing to the opposition’s apprehension, the government was forced to seek deferment of the 20th Amendment Bill in the Upper House on Friday.

Law Minister Moula Bakhsh Chandio was meant to move the Bill for deliberation and get it approved in the Senate.

The Bill was already passed unanimously by the National Assembly and was on the agenda in the Senate on Friday. However, Leader of the House Nayyar Husain Bokhari requested the chair for more time to develop consensus with all political and religious parties.

“We need a little time to develop consensus over the draft, which is necessary to get the constitutional amendment ratified by the Upper House unanimously,” he said.

President of the Pakistan Muslim League’s Like-minded group Salim Saifullah said that his party would not allow the passage of the 20th Amendment Bill till the release of the Senators Development Funds. However, Saifullah was assured by Chief Whip in Senate Islamuddin Sheikh regarding the timely release of the funds.

According to a member of the Senate Secretariat, two political parties conveyed their concern to Bokhari, before the proceedings initiated.

The two parties – Jamaat-e-Islami and Pakhtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party –who only have representation in the Upper House said they were not taken into confidence over the proposed legislation.

A senator from PPP said that the government will remove concerns of the parties present in the Senate soon and will get the Amendment passed on Monday.

NATO air route causes concern

The government’s decision to resume Nato supplies through air routes over Pakistan evidently irked lawmakers in the Senate on Friday. A majority of the members questioned the government over who authorised the defence minister to take the decision and whether it was made with any involvement from military quarters.

“It should be in our notice if a permission had been sought from the Parliamentary Committee on National Security before taking such a major decision; or was the defence minister authorised enough to do this without taking the Parliament into confidence,” said Leader of the Opposition Abdul Ghafoor Haidri.

He also snubbed the defence minister’s stance that the step had been taken on humanitarian grounds.

Syed Zafar Ali Shah of the PML-N also expressed concern over the decision to reopen Nato supply routes through air. He termed the decision “unfortunate” and “quite ignorant” on the government’s part, saying that such an important thing was kept hidden from the nation and the parliamentarians.

Other members observed that the government must revisit its foreign policy in regard to the war against terrorism, and must take a firm stand against drone strikes. They also advised the government to declare that the Nato supply route will never be reopened keeping in view Pakistan’s national interest and sovereignty.

Points of Order

While answering to a point of order, Interior Minister Rehman Malik declared JUI-F chief Moulana Fazlur Rahman’s name amongst the beneficiaries of National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) “erroneous.”

Later in the day, Senators from the Awami National Party, JUI-F, PML-N and PML (Like-minded) staged a walkout in protest against a blurred news item aired by a private TV channel alleging that warrants have been issued by Interpol against a Senator from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

However, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said he had no information regarding the issuance of warrants of any Senator by Interpol. Chairman Senate Farooq H Naek directed him to obtain all relevant information and table a detailed report in the House within next three days.

The Senate will meet again on Monday, February 20.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2012. 

Islamabad News Sources -2

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Short URL:

Posted by on Feb 18 2012. Filed under Latest News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Search Archive

Search by Date
Search by Category
Search with Google Deals
Log in