ISLAMABAD: The government’s move to form a special parliamentary committee on the issue of French envoy’s expulsion from Pakistan seems to have fizzled out as after the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has also opposed the idea and called for a full-fledged debate in the National Assembly on the Namoos-i-Risalat issue.
“The PPP does not support the idea of formation of any special committee and believes that the debate on the issue must be held in the National Assembly after converting it into a committee of the whole house,” PPP secretary general Farhatullah Khan Babar said while talking to Dawn here on Sunday.
Mr Babar said the party leaders after deliberating on the matter had decided to support the stance taken by other opposition parties, including the PML-N and the JUI-F, that there was no need for the formation of any special committee and every member should be allowed to speak on the matter which was sensitive in nature.
The PPP, which had recently parted ways with the 10-party opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), had boycotted the National Assembly’s sitting on April 20 when the government through its MNA from Mianwali Amjid Ali Khan had managed to present a private resolution in the house, seeking a debate on the issue of the French ambassador’s expulsion from the country over the publication of blasphemous caricatures in his country.
PPP follows suit after PML-N, JUI-F opposed the idea
Soon after the presentation of the resolution by the mover, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan had moved a motion authorising Speaker Asad Qaiser to constitute a special committee of the house comprising members of all parties in proportion to their strength in the assembly for further deliberations on the resolution.
The speaker, however, had not put the resolution for a vote after the PML-N and JUI-F members lodged a strong protest over the government’s move to bring it to the house without prior consultation with them and demanded a full-fledged debate on the issue of Namoos-i-Risalat (the sanctity of the Prophet).
The PPP’s boycott decision had been announced by party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari through his social media account on Twitter in which he had criticised the government for not taking parliament into confidence on the issue at any stage and accused the prime minister of “hiding behind the assembly”.
The assembly had also witnessed rowdyism when the PML-N and JUI-F members gathered in front of the speaker’s dais to protest his act of approving a motion moved by the minister to authorise the speaker to constitute the special parliamentary committee.
The opposition members had demanded that the government should present the agreement it had signed with the banned Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan before the house and those ‘responsible for the bloodshed’ in the country must also be identified. The PML-N had also blasted the government for not ‘owning’ the resolution, saying that it should have been tabled by a government minister instead of a ‘private member’.
Published in Dawn, April 26th, 2021