ISLAMABAD: A ruling party’s senator shamed the opposition for the hue and cry over ‘rule through ordinances’, saying the PPP government led by Benazir Bhutto promulgated as many as 357 ordinances in three years — from Oct 1996 to Nov 1996.
Senator Waleed Iqbal, while taking part in a discussion on the issue in the lower house, said Senator Mian Raza Rabbani, who was now raising questions over constitutional power of the president, was law minister at that time.
He said 26 ordinances had been promulgated each year on average during the 10-year rule of the Pakistan People Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. On the other hand, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government had promulgated less than 20 ordinances per year.
Senator Rabbani challenged the figure of 357 ordinances which Mr Iqbal said had been promulgated by the PPP government in three years.
Opposition accuses govt of taking country towards presidential system
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan, in his speech, objected to the use of words ‘subversion and usurpation’ of parliamentary rights in the opposition’s motion against the president’s act of promulgating ordinances.
“If you think it is subversion, you should have removed Article 89 of the Constitution,” he said.
Reminding the opposition that President Dr Arif Alvi hailed from Karachi, he assured the house that the legal rights of Sindh would not be denied.
Earlier, senators from the opposition slammed the government for relying on ordinances for legislation and alleged that it wanted to take the country towards presidential system.
They specifically opposed the Pakistan Island Development Authority Ordinance and warned that any move to grab assets of smaller provinces would be forcefully opposed by the people.
“Pakistan needs to be run by the parliament but this government has tried its best to make it redundant by bypassing the parliament,” parliamentary leader of the PPP in the Senate Sherry Rehman said. “This government has made a record of passing around 40 ordinances and 38 bills. They are focused on ordinances which is a clear indication of their preference for presidential system. The ordinances keep expiring, just like how the PIDA Ordinance expired recently. If it has expired, then why are they defending it?” she asked.
The senator said the government’s non-serious attitude (to the parliament) was shocking. “How many times has the prime minister attended a Senate session? Hardly once. What is he scared of? Through which executive authority do they want to run the country?”
She asked the government to explain as to what was going on in the United Nations: “This is the first time that India has been made chair of three committees — UNSC Taliban Sanctions Committee, Counter Terrorism Committee and Libya Sanctions Committee. Lobbying is done for these committees all year around. What is our foreign ministry doing?”
Ms Rehman said she was in Malakand yesterday and the people there had given a referendum against the incompetent government.
She asked as to what happened to the Billion Trees Tsunami project and said the climate change department had been paralysed due to mismanagement.
Taking part in the debate, Senator Rabbani said he was forced to say that the “parliament is dead.”
“This is because neither the government talks on public interest issues in the parliament nor is ready to take either house into confidence,” he said. Talking about the power breakdown on Saturday night, he said the incident showed how the country’s power sector was crumbling and called for a thorough inquiry into the episode to fix responsibly.
Mr Rabbani said the ruling PTI should have given a policy statement on this fiasco in the house and told the reasons for this breakdown. “But neither this happened not action was taken against senior officials. Instead, the government suspended small managerial level officials of the Guddu Power Plant. He said the minister concerned came to the house the other day but did not bother to make a statement. “Even the government has not ordered a thorough inquiry into the matter and only a departmental probe has been ordered for an eyewash.”
The house will meet again on Friday at 10.30 am.
Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2021