ISLAMABAD - A number of Parliamentary parties sans Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM)and PML-Q on the maiden day of fresh Senate session severely criticised demands of Tehreek Minhajul Quran chief Dr Tahirul Qadri during a public meeting in Lahore and his call for a long march on Jan 14th.
The lawmakers termed the demands of Dr Qadri that Army and judiciary should be made stakeholders for next interim set up and his call for election reforms as unjust and violation of the Constitution.
They said under the Constitution the interim set up had limited scope and it could not bring election reforms, as it was the Parliament only who could amend the laws in connection with the election reforms.
They termed Dr Qadri as a ‘clown’ who having Canadian nationality was befooling the masses at large.
A key coalition partner of the government, PML-Q did not give any comment on the issue that turned into a debate in the House after Mian Raza Rabbani, senior PPP leader, gave very sound arguments in response to a public speech of Dr Qadri in Lahore and his demands.
The MQM and PML-Q, both the coalition partners of the ruling PPP, had to face severe criticism from many Parliamentary parties in the House for supporting the long march call given by Dr Qadri.
Many lawmakers across the aisle took part in the debate that unintentionally divided into two parts.
In one part, they also paid tributes to the departed soul of former senior provincial KP Minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour who recently sacrificed his life in a suicide bomb blast as well as for Professor Ghafoor Ahmed, a senior leader of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), who died last week.
The House also adopted separate resolutions on the sad demise of both the politicians whose copies would be forwarded to the bereaved families respectively. And in the second part, the lawmakers gave their comments on the public remarks of Dr Tahirul Qadri and his call for a long march.
Some voices also came from the House that Army as well as judiciary should clarify the issue if these were not backing the move of Dr Tahir Qadri and a PPP Senator Dr Karim Khawaja said it would be tantamount to disintegrating the country if the present democratic set up was derailed in the guise of a long march.
Mian Raza Rabbani of PPP was the first who on a point of order raising the issue said the demands of Dr Qadri for making the judiciary and the Army stakeholders for establishing a caretaker set up in the country were unconstitutional.
He said Dr Tahir Qadri though talked about supremacy of law in his public speech yet infact he violated the Constitution for seeking illegal demands.
He said actually a drama was being played in the name of supremacy of Constitution and his demand for implementation of Article 62 regarding accountability always remained a slogan of dictators to delay the elections process.
He further argued that his demand to negotiate with all stakeholders including SC and Army was unconstitutional as Article 224 (1) A had been amended that now gave these powers to the Leader of he House and the Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly.
He said that Article 244 bars any Army officer to involve in politics and as far as judiciary was concerned, there was trichotomy of powers in the Constitution of Pakistan. He said that the role of the caretaker set up was limited and under Article 222 legislation regarding election reforms could be done only by the Parliament and neither Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) not caretaker set up could amend Constitution. "If you want to keep intact the Federation, then it is necessary to hold the general elections in time," he concluded his remarks.
Hasil Khan Bizenjo of National Party Balochistan also criticised the demands of Dr Qadri stating that the masses were suspicious that who was supporting this ‘clown’ and who was standing behind him.
He said that MQM and PML-Q should give moral reasons for supporting Dr Qadri.
Mushahidullah Khan of PML-N criticised the PML-Q and MQM for supporting Dr Qadri and said that his demands to make SC and Army stakeholders in the interim set up were illegal and unconstitutional.
He said that on one hand the coalition partners of ruling PPP were not ready to leave the government and on the other hand they were supporting the long march of Qadri.
Tahir Mashhadi of MQM apologised for his party chief Altaf Hussain’s remarks in his public speech against the media what he said that these were unintentional. He opted for apology after the Parliamentary reporters staged a protest walk out from the Press gallery against the remarks of Altaf Hussain. He at the same time supporting Dr Qadri said it was a Parliamentary tradition that nobody should give remarks against a person who could not defend his position. He said that the chair should expunge the remarks used in the House against Dr Qadri.
However, he said that his party did not want to derail the democratic system and supported holding of elections on time. "We want reforms and supremacy of Constitution and will not support any unconstitutional step," he added,
Saeed Ghani demanded a fair clarification from Army and judiciary on the issue. Senators Zahid Khan and Kalsoom Perveen said that it was unjust and undemocratic to give a threatening message to the present set up. Senator Ilyas Bilour, thanked all the lawmakers and political parties who condoled with his family.