Opposition leaders to meet Saudi crown prince today

Published February 18, 2019
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman will meet a Senate delegation including opposition members. — File photo
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman will meet a Senate delegation including opposition members. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: After refusal of the government to invite the opposition leadership to official engagements of the visiting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), the opposition senators finally got an opportunity to have a meeting with the dignitary on Monday (today), Dawn has learnt.

Sources said a delegation headed by Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani would meet the crown prince at noon on the invitation of the Saudi ambassador in Pakistan.

The delegation will comprise Leader of the House Shibli Faraz of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Leader of the Opposition and chairman of the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Raja Zafarul Haq, parliamentary leader of the PML-N Mushahidullah Khan, parliamentary leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Sherry Rehman, parliamentary leader of the PTI Azam Khan Swati and parliamentary leader of the senators’ group from tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Aurangzeb Khan.

PML-N, PPP leaders question the government’s logic to keep them away from MBS’s engagements

Interestingly, the official list, seen by Dawn, shows the name of National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser also mentioned as a member of the delegation. Some opposition members of the National Assembly were of the view that the speaker should not have been a part of the Senate delegation if he could not arrange a similar meeting of his own members with the visiting dignitary.

The opposition parties have been criticising the federal government for not inviting their leadership to the official reception hosted in honour of visiting Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and termed it an “undemocratic and un-parliamentary” step.

The PPP and PML-N leaders had questioned the logic that was given by the government to keep the opposition away from the official engagements during the two-day visit of the Saudi crown prince and said they had never made any request to the government to invite them to any function.

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry had stated through his official account on social media website Twitter that the opposition leaders who were facing corruption charges could not be invited to attend the reception for the Saudi crown prince.

“How can we invite the opposition to the (official) dinner? Their central leaders are either in jail or on bail or facing investigations. The remaining people do not have such kind of a (political) stature. So it is meaningless to invite or not to invite the opposition,” Mr Chaudhry wrote.

In the same Tweet, he had termed the present opposition “non-serious” and expressed the hope that a new political leadership might emerge from the opposition.

When contacted, PML-N parliamentary leader Musha­hidullah Khan confirmed that they had received an invitation from the Senate Secretariat for a meeting with the Saudi prince.

In reply to a question, he said there was no harm in meeting the crown prince as part of the Senate delegation as the government had nothing to do with this activity. Moreover, he said, so far he had not received any instructions from the party leadership in this regard.

PPP’s Sherry Rehman also said that at present she could not make any comment on the issue, but confirmed that she had received intimation from the Senate Secretariat regarding the meeting of the Senate delegation with the Saudi prince.

Published in Dawn, February 18th, 2019

Opinion

ECP roars back
Updated 19 Jun 2021

ECP roars back

The bill is a shocking manifestation of the PTI government’s unilateral push to have its way.
Meeting at the top
19 Jun 2021

Meeting at the top

There must be the will to listen, to confer and to compromise...
Budgeting with constraints
Updated 18 Jun 2021

Budgeting with constraints

The budget strategy will deliver growth but raises the risk of external account stress.

Editorial

19 Jun 2021

NA peace — for now

AFTER a session of utter pandemonium and a distasteful war of words, normalcy finally returned to the National...
India uranium theft
Updated 19 Jun 2021

India uranium theft

REPORTS emerging from India about the theft of uranium and possible sale on the black market should be a cause for...
19 Jun 2021

KCR rigmarole

THURSDAY’S proceedings in the Supreme Court clearly demonstrated how divided the stakeholders are when it comes to...
Poll bill reservations
Updated 18 Jun 2021

Poll bill reservations

Reforming the electoral process is vital for Pakistan, and doing so by taking everyone on board is equally important.
18 Jun 2021

E-fund transfer fee

THE State Bank’s decision to withdraw the facility of free of cost digital fund transfer services is disappointing...
18 Jun 2021

Gaza bombed again

MEMORIES of last month’s savage assault by Israel targeting Gaza had not yet faded when earlier this week news...