• Senate also adopts resolution against lynching incidents in Swat, Sargodha
• Standing committee ‘rejects’ proposed taxes on salaried class, baby milk, school books and stationery, poultry feed, cheap phones

ISLAMABAD: The opposition and treasury benches on Monday locked horns over the plan to launch a fresh military operation, with Leader of the Opposition Syed Shibli Faraz voicing concern over the Azm-i-Istehkam operation and saying the word Istehkam (stability) has political connotations.

Mr Faraz was of the view that stability would remain a pipe dream sans supremacy of the Constitution, rule of law, adherence to democratic principles and recognition of the true mandate of the electorate.

He said those who came to power through ‘Form 47s’ had failed to present a balanced budget, which even their allies refuse to own.

Mr Faraz said the key to the country’s prosperity, security, progress and stability lay with PTI founder Imran Khan.

Senators belonging to the PTI also staged a protest in the house against the military operation’s plan and gathered around the podium of the chair, chanting slogans against the new military operation.

PPP’s parliamentary leader Sherry Rehman, while responding to the opposition’s objection amidst chaos in the house, said a coherent country-wide operation was essential as the menace of terrorism was once again rearing head.

Expressing concern over PTI’s politics of protests, she questioned the motive behind their opposition to ‘Azm-i-Istehkam’, an operation aimed at curbing terrorism and restoring stability in the country.

She also regretted that the PTI did not sign a resolution against the incident of extremism in Swat presented in the National Assembly on Sunday.

Speaking on a point of public importance, Awami National Party’s parliamentary leader Aimal Wali Khan rejected the proposed military operation outright and questioned why the National Action Plan, supported by all the political parties and institutions, was not being implemented. “We reject this new operation. It does not mean we support terrorists but are against dramas while terrorists are roaming around in their protocol and the nation suffers and bleeds,” he maintained.

The ANP legislator asked whether or not punishments would be awarded to those, who had set free 102 convicted terrorists, including ‘the butcher of Swat’ Muslim Khan and the mastermind of APS Peshawar massacre. He also wanted to know whether or not facilitators of terrorists, from General Zia to the present time, would face action.

Resolution against mob lynching

Senator Rehman also introduced a resolution against recent mob lynching incidents in Swat and Sargodha, which was passed by a majority vote.

The house, through the resolution, demanded of the provincial governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab to take all necessary measures to ensure that the persons involved in these heinous crimes were identified, investigated, and prosecuted without delay.

Senate body ‘rejects’ further taxes

Senator Saleem Mandviwalla, chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue, while presenting a report in the house said the committee had unanimously rejected the proposal to impose further taxes on the salaried class and on baby milk and school books and stationary. The committee has proposed that the government allocate special allowance for the disabled people, he added.

Mr Mandviwalla said the Senate has proposed to the government not to impose tax on poultry feed as this would cause further inflation. “We have recommended not to increase taxes on cheap phones.”

The report was declared by Senate deputy chairman to have been adopted by the house, without putting it up for a vote. Finance Minister Muhammad Aurganzeb assured the House that its recommendations would be duly considered.

Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2024

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