ISLAMABAD, July 30: The ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) faced an embarrassing situation in the Senate on Monday when one of its allies boycotted the proceedings and the other blasted the government for its failure to resolve the power crisis and over the absence of ministers from the house.
All the members of the Awami National Party announced that they were boycotting the proceedings when Chairman Nayyar Hussain Bokhari stopped Zahid Khan of the ANP from raising the issue of ongoing protests against power outages on a point of order.
When Mr Bokhari drew the attention of Mr Khan that the issue of loadshedding was already on the agenda and that he should wait for his turn to speak on the motion that had been moved by Senator Tahir Hussain Mashhadi of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) the ANP members stood up and said if the issue was on the agenda why the minister concerned was not present in the house.
Zahid Khan said that on one hand people were agitating on the streets against prolonged power outages and on the other there was no one in the government to listen to the voice of the people’s representatives.
Then the ANP senators staged a walkout announcing to boycott the proceedings till the time the chairman did not ensure the minister’s presence.
The ANP’s boycott provided no relief to the PPP because it faced more harsher and ruthless criticism from its other coalition partner when MQM’s Tahir Mashhadi not only blasted the poor handling of the power crisis, but also alleged that corruption was rampant in almost all ranks and files of the government.
The MQM senator regretted that the government had raised the power tariff 16 times or 140 per cent over the past four years.
He said the government was testing the people’s patience and warned that if the issue was not resolved on an emergency basis within a few hours it would be difficult for the PPP even to field candidates in the next elections.