Senate drops praise for OIC from resolution on Kashmir

Published February 26, 2019
Senator Sherry Rehman of the PPP criticised the OIC’s decision to invite Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj to the meeting and said perhaps OIC’s relations with Israel were improving. ─ AFP/File
Senator Sherry Rehman of the PPP criticised the OIC’s decision to invite Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj to the meeting and said perhaps OIC’s relations with Israel were improving. ─ AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Monday dropped Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s appreciation out of a resolution on post-Pulwama attack developments for its invitation to India to attend the forthcoming meeting of OIC foreign ministers.

The objection to the joint resolution’s text was raised by former Senate chairman Mian Raza Rabbani after it was read out by Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Raja Mohammad Zafarul Haq.

Pointing out that the Indian foreign minister had been invited as a ‘guest of honour’ at the inaugural session of the OIC foreign ministers’ conclave scheduled for next month in Abu Dhabi, Mr Rabbani suggested that appreciation for the OIC be omitted from the text of the proposed resolution. He observed that keeping in view Pak-India relations, it was inappropriate to extend such invitation.

Both the leaders of the opposition and the house endorsed the position taken by Mr Rabbani and an amended resolution was subsequently passed by the Senate.

House strongly condemns premeditated reactions, threats and war hysteria whipped up by India; Sanjrani issues production order for Kamran Michael

The Jamaat-i-Islami emir was of the view that the resolution should include a warning that Pakistan would boycott the OIC meeting if it was attended by India — a position which was later endorsed by Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidri of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F).

Senator Sherry Rehman of the Pakistan Peoples Party also criticised the OIC’s decision to invite Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj to the meeting and said that perhaps OIC’s relations with Israel were improving.

PPP Senator Rehman Malik observed that the OIC had become a useless body and was pursuing its own agenda.

The house through the unanimous resolution strongly condemned premeditated reactions, threats and war hysteria whipped up by India ahead of elections there. It also rejected what it called the frivolous propaganda campaign launched by India against Pakistan following the attack on a convoy of security forces in Pulwama district of held Kashmir.

The Senate supported the government’s offer for assistance to India in investigations into the attack and to take action on actionable intelligence or evidence and made it clear that no one should underestimate Pakistan’s ability and commitment to defending its borders against any external aggression.

The house deplored the continued state-sponsored violence orchestrated by Indian security forces against the Kashmiris in the form of disappearances, staged encounters, rapes, usage of live ammunition and pellet guns and condemned the surge in atrocities perpetrated by India against the Kashmiris within the occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir as well as targeting of Kashmiri students in various parts of India.

A highlight of the day’s proceedings was issuance of Senator Kamran Michael’s production order by Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani. An application to that effect had been moved by the opposition leader under Rule 84 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate, 2012.

While announcing his ruling, Mr Sanjrani observed that in terms of relevant provision of the rules, the chairman while issuing a production order must not also act in a routine and mechanical manner but also examine as to why was it “necessary” that a certain member should attend the proceedings of the house.

He observed that neither under rules nor by practice, it was mandatory or for granted that production orders had to be issued for each/any member under custody and for every session or business.

The presiding officers have been rejecting requests in many cases/instances and given rulings justifying the decision of not issuing the production orders. Likewise, the courts have also declared that the issuance of production order is not mandatory and only in case the chair considers the presence of the member detained for a particular business or reasons, the same can be issued.

The issue of arrest of Sindh Assembly Speaker Afgha Siraj Durrani was also forcefully raised by the opposition in the Senate. Raza Rabbani said the speaker of the provincial assembly was elected under Article 108 of the Constitution, meaning that the speaker of an assembly held a constitutional office.

The PPP senator said that under Article 7 of the Constitution, which defines ‘state’, the assemblies formed part of the state. “The speaker is thus custodian of this part of the state and Mr Durrani’s arrest was attack on part of the state.”

He alleged that the government wanted to introduce presidential system in the country and an attack on the federal parliamentary system had been launched under a pre-conceived plan.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2019

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