ISLAMABAD: Senate Standing Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges on Wednesday terminated the meeting after registering a strong protest over the absence of the interior secretary and inspector general of police (IGP) Islamabad.
The committee chairperson, Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, said a huge amount of resources was used on the meetings, but they could not be held because officers skipped them without intimation.
The meeting was called on a single point agenda to discuss privilege motion of Senator Behramand Tangi, which was referred to the committee on April 26.
The senator moved the privilege motion against the IGP Islamabad and all those who were involved in the baton charge on Mr Tangi outside the National Accountability Bureau office on March 25 where Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was summoned in a case.
Huge amount of resources is used to hold meetings, Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq says
Members, including senators John Kenneth Williams, Nighat Mirza, Khanzada Khan, Manzoor Ahmed Kakar, the mover, and even Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Azam Khan Swati were present in the meeting but the interior secretary or additional secretary and IGP Islamabad Amir Zulfiqar Khan did not bother to turn up.
Senator Farooq said that protocol of the parliamentary committees demanded that secretary or additional secretary of the ministries and heads of the departments attend the meetings.
“Here members have come from Balochistan, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and other areas which incurred heavy expenses on the exchequer. Moreover, Minister Azam Khan Swati himself was present in the meeting,” she said.
Mr Swati, despite being part of the government, also criticised the absence of the officers and said he would ensure that the IGP and interior secretary attend the next meeting.
“However I am aware of the issue and can brief the committee if it wants,” he offered.
The committee members decided that they should wait for the IGP and interior secretary to get their response. Mr Tangi was also of the view that his issue should be discussed during the presence of the officers concerned.
The members had a unanimous opinion, beyond party lines, that no other meeting can have priority over meetings of the parliamentary committees and this callous attitude points to lack of respect towards institutions.
Later, Senator Farooq, while talking to Dawn, said a joint secretary at the interior ministry and a junior officer of police had reached to attend the meeting despite the fact that they could not attend the meeting on behalf of the secretary and IGP.
“The committee wants to know how the police can dare baton charge a parliamentarian. Even if Section 144 was imposed, the police cannot manhandle a parliamentarian. That is why we want to hear from the IGP that what happened and want to seek his explanation,” she said.
Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2019