ISLAMABAD: Another attempt by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to requisition a Senate session appears to have been thwarted, informed sources told Dawn.
Five of the six senators from parties other than the PPP, according to sources in the Senate secretariat, have withdrawn their signatures from the Sept 18 requisition, which aimed to discuss “skyrocketing inflation and inflated electricity bills causing grave concern and unrest among the general public”.
Sources in the PPP, however, question the “dubious behind-the-scenes activities” and seek official response by Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani to its communication and reveal the names of those who have retracted their signatures.
The five members, who reportedly withdrew their signatures after being grilled by their respective leaderships, are Saadia Abbasi (PML-N), Mohammad Qasim (BNP-M), Abida Azeem (PkMAP), Haji Hidayat Ullah, and Umer Farooq (ANP).
Five senators withdraw signatures from inflation discussion requisition; PPP seeks official response; PML-N lawmaker admits session would embarrass party
The requisition had been signed by all 21 PPP senators and Senator Shamim Afridi, an independent who joined PPP in 2021.
In total, 28 senators had signed the requisition, and the withdrawal of signatures by five members would reduce the number to 23, falling short of the one-fourth members required to requisition the session.
Senator Tahir Bizenjo of the National Party (NP) stated that he has not withdrawn his signature and called for an investigation into the episode involving the withdrawal of signatures.
Sources said Chairman Sanjrani held a telephonic conversation with PPP’s Senator Taj Haider to convey that five senators had withdrawn their signatures without disclosing their identities.
A day later, Taj Haider wrote a letter to the secretary Senate in which he referred to Mr Sanjrani’s call, informing verbally about withdrawal of signature.
“On our part we had confirmed from all signatories before obtaining their signatures and submitting the same to the Senate Secretariat that they shall not withdraw their signatures at a later stage. The information given to me by Honourable Chairman Senate that five of the signatories had withdrawn their signatures is a shocking surprise for me and my party. Please be so kind as to send me their good names,” the letter, a copy of which is available with Dawn, reads.
Sources said PPP is still awaiting an official response. A PPP source claimed three of the senators from parties other than PPP stated that they had not withdrawn their signatures.
When contacted, a PML-N lawmaker conceded that a Senate session at this stage could only bring embarrassment to the party as it could not deliver on its promised relief.
“We will have to face scathing criticism over the IMF deal and the resultant price hike,” he said.
Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2023