ISLAMABAD: Amid a rising political temperature, the government on Friday proposed a dialogue among all political stakeholders to hammer out a road map for political and economic stability in the country.
Federal Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar told the Senate that the move would help Pakistan make progress and ease the lives of the masses.
Speaking on the third and final day of the golden jubilee celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Senate, the minister said more polarisation would only weaken state institutions, as politics was not about discrimination but sticking to one’s ideology.
“If we analyse the past, instead of improvement, conditions have deteriorated. Even now, economic growth faces ups and downs and one major reason for this situation is political instability and unconstitutional interventions, abrogation of the Constitution and imposition of dictatorships,” he noted.
“Should not we learn from our past?” he asked, stressing the need to bring “seriousness in our attitude”.
PML-N senator dismayed at resolution for not condemning dictators, judges ‘who sided with violators of Constitution’
He added, “We need to listen to each other with tolerance and patience, and for me, it is extremely painful that the opposition is not present in the House. Their presence would have sent out a very good message.”
Senator Moula Bux Chandio, in his speech, lamented that what was being done by a leader, had it been done by a leader from Sindh or Balochistan, they would have been “hanged at Minar-i-Pakistan”.
“We must have to do away with this injustice,” he said, adding that the law should be applied equally to all.
Senator Manzoor Ahmad Kakar wondered what was being done for the betterment of the youth, who he said formed over 60 per cent of the total population. He also wished the opposition was present in the Senate on its 50-year celebrations.
Later, the House adopted a resolution, which reads, “We, the members of the Senate of Pakistan, resolve to acknowledge the importance of this commemorative 50th Anniversary Session of the Senate aimed at strengthening national harmony, unity and inclusiveness”.
“Express gratitude to the architects of the 1973 constitution, former chairmen, deputy chairmen and senators, staff and other stakeholders towards transforming the Senate into a chamber of parliamentary excellence over the past 50 years.
In the resolution, the senator also reaffirmed their commitment to uphold the Constitution and promote democratic values, federalism, tolerance and constitutionalism in the country, as envisaged by the Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
However, Senator Irfan Siddiqui of the PML-N expressed dismay over the adoption of the resolution at the end of the celebrations without mentioning and condemning the dictators and judges “who sided with violators of the Constitution”.
“The resolution did not fully reflect the sentiments expressed by the majority of the members in the House,” he told reporters in Islamabad after the three-day session was prorogued.
Senator Siddiqui explained that when the draft resolution came to his notice, he submitted an amendment to the Senate secretary on Friday morning, which said: “This august house condemns all military dictators who abrogated, subverted, or held in abeyance the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, thereby usurping the fundamental rights of the people of Pakistan.”
It added: “Furthermore, the House condemns the so-called judges who endorsed these unconstitutional actions by violating their oath, justifying the actions of the dictators, and allowing them to play with the Constitution according to their ill motives”.
He said that many current and former Senate members, including Farhatullah Babar, Rukhsana Zuberi, Raza Rabbani, Aitzaz Ahsan, expressed similar views. However, despite the request to the Senate chairman to present the amendment, permission was not granted.
Senator Siddiqui expressed his disappointment over not being allowed to present his amendment and said that “we should not be afraid to bring forward these historical facts”.
“If we cannot even talk about the past, what is the use of sitting in such an august house?” he wondered.
Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2023