Call to guard parliament against ‘institutional overreach’

ISLAMABAD: Law Minister and Leader of the House in Senate Azam Nazeer Tarar said on Friday parliament must be defended against the overreach of the judiciary and other institutions.

Mr Tarar was speaking in the Senate to endorse the position taken by former Senate chairman and PPP stalwart Raza Rabbani, who expressed alarm over “continued interference in the parliament’s domain”.

Mr Rabbani regretted that parliamentary panels’ chairpersons were served notices and directions given by committees were stayed. In this regard, he mentioned a recent notice issued to the National Assembly speaker.

He said this transgression of the trichotomy of powers enshrined in the Constitution was a serious issue, stressing that parliament was a sovereign institution.

“Parliament is not a public company that its proceedings could be stayed,” he remarked.

Rabbani says parliament not a public limited company that its proceedings can be stayed; Senate urges world community to review engagement with India

He said proceedings of the parliamentary committee were part of the procedure of parliament and were covered under Article 69 of the Constitution.

He said it was in this context he had suggested a meeting of all the former Senate chairpersons and National Assembly speakers to come up with a reasonable way forward.

Mr Rabbani asked Law Minister Tarar to include the issue in the agenda of a joint session so that the opinion of the entire parliament could be sought.

‘Economy on path to recovery’

Earlier, criticising the PTI for playing politics on the economy, Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Dr Aisha Ghous Pasha said the country’s economy was well on the path to recovery as the incumbent government had successfully managed to curtail the ever-increasing imports.

Responding to a calling attention notice by PTI Senator Mohsin Aziz, she said the “financially imprudent” policies of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government had ruined the economy, sending the current account deficit to an all-time high last fiscal year.

In contrast, she said, the PML-N-led government had significantly reduced the import bill by taking prudent measures.

She said when the incumbent government took over in April, the country had no money to buy fuel for generating electricity as the government wanted to minimise outages.

This was one of the major factors that sent the import bill soaring and resulted in a 23 per cent depreciation in the rupee’s value against the US dollar, she said, adding that 12pc of the drop was due to the increase in interest rates by the US government. She claimed that the local currency lost 24pc of its value during the PTI’s tenure.

In his calling attention notice, Mr Aziz slammed the government for shrinking exports, the rupee’s devaluation and policies “that led to the closure of around 40 textile mills”.

He also chided the government for lifting a ban on the import of cat and dog food and cosmetics and delay in the appointment of the central bank’s governor and claimed that inflation had reached an alarming level of 35pc.

‘India disregarding humanitarian laws’

The Senate also unanimously passed a resolution urging the international community to review its engagement with India, which is disregarding international humanitarian laws and resolutions on the Kashmir dispute.

The resolution, moved by Mr Tarar, asked the government to re-energise diplomatic efforts to highlight the Kashmir dispute at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The resolution strongly rejected India’s illegal and unilateral actions of Aug 5, 2019, which directly violated the UN Security Council’s (UNSC) resolutions and were aimed at changing the demographic structure of Indian-held Kashmir, suppressing the realisation of the inalienable right to self-determination of Kashmiris as well as violating their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

Condemning Indian atrocities, including extra-judicial killings and demolishing homes and private properties as a form of collective punishment in the occupied territory, the resolution deplored change in the status of the Urdu language associated with Kashmiri Muslims and their identity.

It demanded that the Kashmir dispute be resolved according to the aspirations of the Kashmiri people and UNSC’s resolutions.

Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2022