ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly echoed with a general complaint on Wednesday that parliament remained helpless to address people’s problems during the five years of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government.
The complaint came not only from opposition benches but some ruling party members also joined them.
In the absence of Speaker Ayaz Sadiq and Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader SA Iqbal Qadri presided over the session.
MQM members tried to take advantage of the opportunity and table a resolution for the creation of another province in Sindh consisting of areas where the party has strong footings.
Ali Raza Abidi of the MQM demanded the speaker suspend the rules and allow him to table the resolution.
But Mr Qadri turned down the move saying that the party had to submit the resolution first in the National Assembly secretariat.
Some members want parliament to take up issues of Durrani’s book, abrogation of the Constitution by Musharraf and de-notification of 10 districts
The MQM legislators got an open field after almost all members of main parties left the house. They delivered emotional speeches, condemning the federal government and the Sindh government for not addressing problems of Karachi and remote areas of the province.
Waseem Hussain of the MQM said all the legislators who spoke before him had expressed gratitude to each other for taking part in a legislative process with sweet and sour memories, but he would never say thank-you to anyone specially the treasury benches. “I will not contest the next elections, but will receive anyone from you, if come to my home town, Hyderabad, with rotten eggs and shoes,” he said.
He said he had been pressing the house for setting up a university, an airport and other basic civic amenities in Hyderabad, but the government did not heed his demands.
He demanded accountability of all politicians before the general elections so that clean and honest people came to parliament.
Mr Hussain accused the NAB of sparing the PPP leaders who had allegedly been involved in corruption.
Some members demanded that the parliament should take up the issues of a controversial book of former chief of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) retired Lt Gen Asad Durrani, abrogation of the Constitution by former president Gen Pervez Musharraf and de-notification of 10 districts by the Islamabad High Court.
Retired Capt Safdar, son-in-law of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, demanded that the issue of Mr Durrani’s book should be brought before parliament. “Although the GHQ has initiated an inquiry against Gen Durrani and put his name on the ECL, parliament is supreme and therefore the issue has to be decided by it,” he said.
The GHQ should also bring Mr Musharraf back to the country so that he could be made answerable for abrogating the Constitution, he demanded.
Capt Safdar criticised prime minister’s Personal Secretary Fawad Hasan Fawad for calling the shots, even refusing the prime minister’s directives and not entertaining the parliamentarians.
He feared that some hidden hands would try to ‘steal’ the coming general elections.
Retired Maj Tahir drew the attention of the house to the issue of de-notification of 10 districts only 55 days before elections and said parliament must take action on it, otherwise the elections could be delayed.
At the start of the session, Speaker Ayaz Sadiq said he wanted to thank chief whips of all parliamentary parties for their help in running the house, especially Shireen Mazari of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Ijaz Jakhrani of the Pakistan Peoples Party and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab who had a photo together in the current session. The speaker presented the framed photo to them as a souvenir from the NA secretariat.
PTI leader Arif Alvi raised the issues of Karachi like drinking water crisis and the recent hike in the prices of petroleum products.
Sajida Begum of the same party said that she had a good time and experience during the past five years in the house, but was disappointed by the poor response of the government to the questions raised during the sittings.
Published in Dawn, May 31st, 2018