ISLAMABAD - The Senate Monday deferred for a day discussion on a government move to decrease the number of members in the house committees after ANP, a partner of the government alliance, strongly opposed it.
The ANP said that by cutting down the size of the house committees the leading party of the allied government, PPP, was in fact manoeuvring to increase total number of the committees so it could favour some lawmakers after the dissolution of the government.
The proposal sought amendment in the rule 165, sub-rule (1) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the house to decrease the minimum and maximum number of members in each standing committee of the house. Rule 165 (1) says that each standing committee shall consist of not less than 12 members and not more than 15 members. The government's amendment proposed minimum nine members and maximum 12 members.
The matter was deferred for a day on the request of Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Ishaq Dar, after a strong opposition from ANP’s Senator Zahid Khan who said the PPP wanted to facilitate certain senators by making them chairpersons of the new committees before the dissolution of assemblies.
He suspected that some ministers, who would lose their jobs as a result of the dissolution of the government, would be given the headship of the new committees. He said this was only being done to provide perks and privileges to some lawmakers as each chairman of standing committees is entitled to official vehicle, fuel and other perks.
PPP Chief Whip in the Senate Islamuddin Sheikh wanted to get passed the amendment the same day, however, the chair deferred the matter for a day on the request of Ishaq Dar, who said that a consensus was needed on the issue.
Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) – which is now an opposition party – and government ally ANP both strongly criticised the government over Sunday night's massive power breakdown that plunged the whole the country into darkness while the MQM also staged a protest walkout from the house on the issue.
Mr Tahir Hussain Mashhadi said this was because of the mismanagement and bad governance of the government and end losers were the people at large. He said that power supply could not be restored in some parts of the country till now and this was because the PPP-led government always appointed their blue-eyed on the top slots. He also condemned Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq for his remarks against the establishment of a university in Hyderabad before staging a token walkout from the house.
Zhaid Khan also raised the issue of power breakdown and said this was all because the government had recently appointed a junior level officer of grade 21 as secretary of the ministry of water and power and senior grade 22 officers were forced to work under him. He said neither the prime minister nor any minister was ready to hear the concerns of the public and desired that a caretaker setup should be formed at the earliest that could at least hear the grievances of the masses.
Winding up a motion, Senate Chairman Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari also constituted a special house committee to suggest a better transport system for the residents of the capital city. The leader of house and leader of the opposition in the Senate would frame the terms of reference (TORs) of the committee.
Senator Hamayun Khan suggested that a study should be conducted what kind of transport system should be viable there. The house unanimously passed three separate bills for the establishment of Darul Madina International University, South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI) University and My University in the capital territory. The bills have already been passed by the national assembly and would be sent to the president to have final assent.