Govt forms panel to engage opposition on legislation

Updated November 17, 2019

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The government has constituted a special parliamentary committee to oversee the affairs related to parliament, to engage the opposition on legislation and to ensure smooth proceedings of the National Assembly and the Senate. — APP/File
The government has constituted a special parliamentary committee to oversee the affairs related to parliament, to engage the opposition on legislation and to ensure smooth proceedings of the National Assembly and the Senate. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: The government has constituted a special parliamentary committee to oversee the affairs related to parliament, to engage the opposition on legislation and to ensure smooth proceedings of the National Assembly and the Senate.

The committee constituted by Prime Minister Imran Khan with the objective of making the parliament more effective comprises National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak and Leader of the House in the Senate Shibli Faraz.

Talking to Dawn on Saturday, Mr Faraz said the committee was actually formed by the prime minister during the party’s core committee meeting after the government and the opposition had struck a ‘give and take’ deal in the National Assembly on Friday under which the former had withdrawn all 11 recently rushed presidential ordinances and the latter had dropped the no-trust motion against Deputy NA Speaker Qasim Suri.

The NA had witnessed a rare show of ‘ceasefire’ between treasury and opposition benches on Friday as, unlike the past, the members from both sides refrained from exchanging harsh words.

The consensus between the government and the opposition had reached during a meeting held in the speaker’s chamber on the issue of passage of 11 ordinances by the National Assembly on Nov 7.

In the meeting, presided over by Speaker Asad Qaiser, the government side agreed that the ordinances were bulldozed in ‘haste’ without giving due right to the members and standing committees concerned to hold a productive debate on them.

On its part, the opposition assured the government that it was withdrawing the no-confidence motion against the deputy speaker.

The meeting decided that some of the withdrawn ordinances would be sent to the standing committees concerned and others would be discussed in the house.

Privilege motion

As the government and the opposition agreed to run the house smoothly, Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry submitted a privilege motion to the National Assembly Secretariat against parliamentary leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Khawaja Asif over “misrepresentation of truth” on the floor of the house.

In his motion, a copy of which is available with Dawn, Mr Chaudhry alleged that Khawaja Asif during his speech on Nov 14 had quoted representatives of the federal and the Punjab governments as saying “let Nawaz Sharif die”, which is a “vivid misrepresentation of truth and of the decision of the Honourable Islamabad High Court regarding the interim bail of Nawaz Sharif on medical grounds.”

Quoting the IHC verdict, Mr Chaudhry stated that “the representatives of the Punjab chief minister and the prime minister had expressed no objection, if interim bail to Nawaz Sharif was granted”.

The minister said the judgment outright negated the statement of Mr Asif.

Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2019