ISLAMABAD: Mohammad Azam Khan Swati, a senator from the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), resigned as member of the Senate and of the party on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had sacked Mr Swati as federal minister for science and technology last year following his wordy duels with the former religious affairs minister, Hamid Saeed Kazmi, who is now in jail over the Haj scam. The JUI-F had quit the coalition government in protest against the decision.
Talking to Dawn, Mr Swati said he was consulting his friends about plans for the future. But sources close to him said he was likely to join Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf and make an announcement about this next week during Imran Khan’s visit to Hazara.
In his resignation letter to the Senate chairman, Mr Swati said: “The Senate has failed to play an effective role in resolving the issues of corruption, mismanagement and lack of governance, besides other social and economic ills and on top of the recent episode of clear threat to matters of national security.” Speaking at a press conference outside parliament, he said it was a waste of time to sit in a “parliament of holders of fake degrees and dual nationality”, adding that the upper house had failed to save democracy and provide relief and jobs to poor people.
“It is high time that all parliamentarians resign and go back to the people.”
In reply to a question about his resignation from the JUI-F, he told Dawn that he had written to the party a month ago about his decision to quit parliament because, according to him, all its resolutions and decisions were being ignored. The party had issued a show-cause notice to him, after which he felt that it was time to say “goodbye”.
Asked about speculations that he had decided to quit the party because his tenure as senator was ending in March and he did not expect to get another ticket, Mr Swati said: “This issue never came under discussion in the party because I won the Senate seat as an independent candidate.”
He accused the government of destroying all national institutions by filling them with PPP ‘jiyalas’ (workers) and said the country was hurtling towards bankruptcy as foreign debt had jumped to $62 billion from $37 billion in 2008.
Mr Swati said he would move the Supreme Court against what he called massive corruption and irregularities in the Benazir Income Support Programme. He alleged that the PPP-led government had tarnished the country’s image and destroyed all cultural, social and economic institutions. Mr Swati, who is a party to the Haj corruption case in the apex court, said the only institution helping the country was the Supreme Court because all corruption cases, including that of Haj scam, rental power plants and railways, were being heard there.
Asked if his brother MNA Laeeq Khan would also follow suit and resign from the assembly, he said: “He (Laeeq) has his own conscience and decision.”
Sources in the JUI-were of the opinion that Mr Swati had taken the decision in haste, adding that he should have stayed with the party till next elections.