The Senate session on Monday saw the opposition criticising the government with former Senate chairman Raza Rabbani of the PPP saying that there was no point in holding dialogue with the government while talks between the state institutions were the only solution to take the state forward.
During the upper house session, chaired by Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, the senior PPP leader ruled out the possibility of any dialogue between the government and the opposition.
“Pakistan stands on a path where everything seems meaningless. It looks like the state has decided to expose all the fault lines without taking into account their effects on the federation,” Rabbani said.
“A tradition wherein whoever raises his voice for his rights is given the medal of traitor is being highlighted in this country.
“Laws are being brought in and used that are hurting the nation.”
Rabbani said trade unions are being eliminated under a well thought-out plan. “The power of these unions is being divided and the state does not understand that a country like India is trying to expose these fault lines in Pakistan.”
He said that the issue of provincial autonomy was not resolved, adding that its constitution was interpreted in such a way that anyone would be “ashamed to hear it”.
He said the issue of Senate elections has been raised while no one has any interest in transparency.
The federal government has filed a presidential reference in the Supreme Court for holding Senate elections via open ballot (show of hands) and not secret ballot to ensure transparency in the process.
Through show of hands, Rabbani said, the Senate Constitution was made for smaller parties.
“Representation was given to smaller political parties so that they could become part of the federation,” Rabbani said, adding that the state’s existence would be in jeopardy unless all institutions agree on the same triangle of powers.
“Toying with the Constitution can no longer continue. Playing with the Constitution, is playing with the federation.”
Federal Law Minister Farogh Naseem rejected the objections raised by the opposition, saying that the government is running all its affairs in accordance with the law and the Constitution.
The law minister said that the Constitution allowed formulation of ordinances and that all ordinances were issued under Article 89 of the Constitution. He recalled that water reserves of the country were handed over to the federation under the regime of former prime minister late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, so there was no point in criticising over the ordinance giving administrative control of the islands to the Centre.
Meanwhile, Jamaat-e-Islami chief Senator Sirajul Haq maintained that there was a need for dialogue with provincial stakeholders on the issue of islands. Siraj said that the JI stood with the people of Balochistan and urged that the province should get its rights.
Leader of the House Dr Shehzad Waseem lamented that an impression was being created that the federal government was occupying the islands of the provinces. He clarified that the federal government respected and loved all provinces and the Centre would only be strong if its units were strong. “The revenue generated from the islands will be given to Sindh,” he said.
Other members who spoke during the session included Raja Zafar-ul-Haq, Senator Sassi Palejo and Barrister Saif. The session was adjourned till 3:15 pm today (Tuesday).