ISLAMABAD - The opposition parties led by PPP Tuesday staged a protest walkout from the Senate against a ruling of the Chairman Senate Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari allowing the government to table the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (Amendment) Ordinance 2014 before the House.
Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq also presented the long-awaited National Internal Security Policy (NISP) before the House following chairman Senate’s direction of the other day that was appreciated from both sides of isle. PPP stalwart Mian Raza Rabbani said in a light tone, “According to my information, Raja Sahib had to take a lot of pain and do personal efforts to get this report.”
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the major opposition party in the Senate, strongly stressed that laying of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (Amendment) Ordinance 2014 before the Upper House by the government was unconstitutional as it had not been approved by the Council of Common Interests (CCI).
After arguments from both sides of isle, the chair ruled that there was no harm in the laying of the ordinance before the House under required provisions of the Constitution and the National Assembly had already treated it as bill. The ruling of the chair provoked senior PPP stalwart Mian Raza Rabbani to stage a protest walkout followed by the combined opposition including PPP, ANP and PML-Q. In the meantime, Minister for Law and Justice Senator Pervez Rashid laid the ordinance before the House.
Before laying of the ordinance, Mian Raza Rabbani on a point of order said that presenting the ordinance before the House was unconstitutional as its subject was part II of the Federal Legislative List and could not be promulgated without the approval of the CCI. He said the cabinet could not approve it as was done in the case.
“This ordinance should have been approved by CCI...since it is not approved by CCI, the promulgation of the ordinance by the president is unconstitutional and the same cannot be laid before the House,” said Rabbani. He said the ordinance had also been challenged before the Sindh High Court (SHC). However, the chair said that ordinance had already been treated in the National Assembly.
Raza Rabbani said the legal point had been raised in the House and the laying of the ordinance should be deferred till a decision by the chair in this regard. Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Aitzaz Ahsan, endorsing Rabbani, said it was purview of the CCI. Federal Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid opined that a constitutional provision was being fulfilled by laying the ordinance before the House. “The House can approve or disapprove it. At later stage,” he added. However Rabbani stuck to his point saying it was not a matter of approval or disapproval but it was related to presenting an invalid piece of legislation before the House. Dr Babar Awan said without fulfilling constitutional requirements, the ordinance could not have a legal standing.
Earlier, PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar, speaking in the Zero Hour, drew the attention of the House towards what he said publicly expressed disagreements between civil and military that seemed to threaten the civil dispensation. He said that in the event of any threat to the civil and democratic dispensation at the hands of undemocratic forces the civil society and democratic political parties should join hands to stand by the democratically elected government in the country and against any undemocratic adventurism.
He said for quite sometime there had been reports of disagreement between the civil government and security establishment which was highlighted by the Army chief’s speech at the SSG headquarters followed by leaked reports about the displeasure expressed in the subsequent corps commanders meeting over the statements given by some ministers.
“Now the interior minister has also admitted the existence of some irritant between the civil and security establishment which, though he claimed, would be resolved soon,” he added. Farhatullah Babar said civil and political forces must join hands against adventurism or threat of adventurism by any coalition of undemocratic forces.
During Zero Hour, ANP staged a protest walkout from the House after remarks expressed by Senator Shahi Syed that his party workers were being abducted and killed in Karachi and the government was not taking notice of the matter.
The government also laid before the House a copy of the Money Bill, the Sales Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2014, seeking recommendations from the House on it as required under the Constitution.