PML-N wants NA reconvened to discuss terror attacks

Updated 15 May 2019


Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. ─ Photo courtesy CNN/File
Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. ─ Photo courtesy CNN/File

ISLAMABAD: A day after the government prorogued the National Assembly for an indefinite period, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) requisitioned its session to discuss the prevailing security situation in the country in the wake of recent terror attacks in Balochistan.

This was announced by recently-appointed senior vice-president of the PML-N and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi at a news conference at the National Press Club here on Tuesday.

Accompanied by party’s secretary general Ahsan Iqbal, spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb and former deputy speaker of the National Assembly Murtaza Javed Abbasi, the former prime minister said they had submitted the requisition notice as they wanted to discuss the reasons for resurrection of terrorism in the country.

Requisitions National Assembly session a day after it was prorogued

In reply to a question, Mr Abbasi regretted that Prime Minister Imran Khan attended the NA sittings twice, but did not utter a single word against the renewed terrorist attacks in Balochistan.

“We have submitted the requisition (notice) today. Terrorism has returned to the country. The National Assembly session should immediately be convened to discuss it,” he said, alleging that the government was not conscious of the issue of the terrorism in the country.

“If the government has any concern over terrorism and when the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is being targeted, it should immediately convene the assembly session without waiting for 14 days,” Mr Abbasi said while referring to the provision in the Constitution under which the speaker is bound to convene the assembly session within 14 days of the receipt of the requisition notice signed by at least one-fourth of the total 342-member house.

Indirectly attacking NA Speaker Asad Qaiser, the former prime minister alleged that the opposition members were not provided opportunity to speak on the floor of the assembly.

In response to a question about the reports regarding possible extension of Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, he said it was a government’s prerogative to make such a decision. He, however, said their past experience showed that such a decision had never benefitted the country and the “institution”. He was of the view that such issues should be discussed at a larger forum. However, he said, while making such decisions, the government should also take lesson from the past.

In reply to another question, Mr Abbasi said they wanted to see the present government complete its five-year term. “But can the people of this country afford it? Can the country afford this?” he went on saying while criticising the government’s eight-month performance, particularly in the economic sector.

The former premier said in eight months, the country’s development rate had been cut to half whereas the inflation was three times higher making the lives of the poor miserable.

He regretted that the adviser to the PM on finance did not come to the house whereas the information ministry was being run through a special assistant to the PM who also could not attend the parliament sessions. He said it was strange that the ruling PTI did not have a single person in the parliament to run the information ministry and they had to “import” a person from the outside.

The PML-N leaders had actually held the news conference on a very short notice only to raise the issue of the arrest of the son of Amir Muqam, the president of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter of the PML-N, by the Anti-Corruption Wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Monday on charges of causing huge losses to the government kitty during construction of Alpuri-Bisham Road in Shangla district.

“Strongly condemning” the FIA action, Mr Abbasi termed it a part of the government’s ongoing vindictive campaign against its opponents. He claimed that Mr Muqam’s son had been arrested at the behest of Minister of State for Communications Murad Saeed only to settle political score.

The PML-N leader alleged that after National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the government had now started using the FIA against the opposition members. He said the FIA and NAB officials closed their eyes when it came to the corruption of Prime Minister Imran Khan and other PTI people. He said no one was questioning the delay in the completion of the BRT project in Peshawar whose cost had already been increased from Rs40 billion to Rs100bn.

Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2019