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Senate condemns vitriolic Karzai

June 17, 2008

ISLAMABAD, June 16: Lawmakers in the Senate on Monday took serious notice of the threatening language of Afghan President Hamid Karzai against Pakistan and described it as a great betrayal by a man who himself lived and whose family members were still living in Pakistan.

The upper house witnessed a brief pandemonium when Leader of the Opposition Kamil Ali Agha criticised Parliamentary Leader of the Awami National Party Haji Adeel for his remarks against him.

Mr Adeel in his speech said he wanted to speak in the presence of the opposition leader, but it seemed that he had lost heart after the defeat of his party in the Feb 18 elections and was found missing from the house most of the time.

Mr Agha said: “The lawmaker (Mr Adeel) belongs to a party (ANP) which never accepted Pakistan’s reality wholeheartedly and whose founding father (Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan) had wished not be buried in Pakistan and his body was taken to Jalalabad for burial.”

This started a commotion and several members from both the treasury and opposition benches started shouting at each other.

Despite government’s efforts to ensure the presence of a sizeable number of its members, very small number of ministers turned out in the house to take part in the budget debate.

The upper house, which was scheduled to wind up a three-day debate on the budget on Monday, decided to continue it till Tuesday when recommendations of the house’s finance committee will be presented for approval.

It was an opposition’s day and some senior PML-Q lawmakers, including S.M. Zafar, Nisar A. Memon, Ms Yasmin Shah and Dr Abdul Malik, gave suggestions to resolve the judges’ issue and Balochistan imbroglio and maintain peace in tribal areas.

Only a few lawmakers from the government side spoke both in support and against the budgetary provisions.

PML-Q’s S.M. Zafar offered the government a formula to resolve the judges’ issue through what he called a ‘miniature’ constitutional package apart from the main package.

He said that under his formula, while all the deposed judges would be reinstated and the present judges would co-exist with them according to the raised number of Supreme Court judges, the original number of 16 judges might be restored by leaving the retired judges’ seats vacant.

He said the budget lacked courage and vision and would result in increase in food and fuel prices.