ISLAMABAD: Shehryar Afridi was elected chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir in a controversial move following walkout of members from three mainstream opposition parties on Wednesday.
It was for the first time in the country’s parliamentary history that consensus could not emerge over the election for the committee’s head.
The opposition was of the view that the chairman of the committee should be an experienced person with comprehensive knowledge of the Kashmir issue.
The opposition members wanted the committee meeting to be put off for a few days to evolve a consensus on the issue and later pleaded for adjourning it for at least a day.
Amir Dogar of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf said that the leadership of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Pakistan Peoples Party had been taken on board, a claim rejected as a lie by the parliamentary leaders of both opposition parties.
Opposition walks out of meeting citing lack of consensus
The committee members from the PML-N, PPP and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl staged a walkout when their plea for adjournment was dismissed. The position of the committee’s head had fallen vacant after Fakhar Imam resigned following his appointment as a federal minister.
Talking to reporters after the walkout, PPP parliamentary leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman deplored that the government had broken the parliamentary tradition of electing Kashmir committee chairman with a consensus.
Talking to reporters, PML-N’s parliamentary leader in the Senate Mushahidullah Khan said that Mr Afridi lacked experience to become Kashmir committee chairman, which in the past had been headed by a towering personality like Nawabzada Nasrullah. He said that the opposition had not raised any objection when Mr Imam’s name was proposed for the position.
Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2020