Untrustworthiness of lawmakers on both sides exposed once again

LAHORE   -  Although the success of the no-trust resolution against the Senate chairman would also have created problems for the working of the system, the results of voting both against Mr Sanjrani and Deputy Chairman Mandviwala have established once again the untrustworthiness of the members of the upper house of parliament. They have also reaffirmed that although under the Constitution they are supposed to be Sadiq and Ameen, many of them actually are not. And the ones who fall in this cursed category have also defaced the others and made them suspects.

And this should be matter of concern for political parties represented in parliament.

During the last few days PML-N and PPP leaders hosted dinners, lunches and hi-teas for their Senators to keep them united and ensure the success of the no-confidence motion against the Senate chairman.

As many as 64 members supported the resolution in the house, after which the balloting began. Had all of them voted in support of the resolution Mr Sanjrani would have been ousted. (In the Senate PML-N has 30 members, PPP 21, National Party five, PkMAP four, JUI-F four and ANP one. To make the planned defeat of Mr Sanjrani more comprehensive, Hasil Bizenjo, proposed to be the new chairman, also called Jamaat-i-Islami Emir Sirajul Haq to persuade him that his party, with two seats, should also support him. But, the JI chief stuck to his party’s earlier decision of abstaining from the process because of its futility.

The outcome of the no-trust motion announced by Barrister Saif Ali, the presiding officer for the session, was flabbergasting.

The final count was 50 votes in favour of the motion, five rejected and 45 against. This showed cracks in the opposition ranks.

The same situation was witnessed in the ruling coalition during voting against Deputy Chairman Mandviwala.

Their strength was 36 but votes cast against him were 32 – four less.

The outcome of the voting against the chairman vindicated a brief forenoon statement made by Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid about the result of the no-trust motion. He told journalists that the government has many a ‘talisman’ (taveez) to deal with such situations.

It is hard to believe that the members of the Senate whose votes were rejected did not know how to cast their votes. Similarly, the remaining nine Senators who did not follow party discipline while using their right to vote are believed to have done what served their interests – political or others.

This is a serious situation for all parties to consider. They should devise measures to ensure that their members follow discipline.

Also, there is a need to see whether the voting in such situations should be secret or open.

(Long ago, when the Punjab Assembly members were to choose the new chief minister and money had played an important role in the exercise, some people were of the view that the voting should be open to curb hypocrisy. Others were of the opinion that it should be secret so that everyone could vote according to his conscience).

Now the question is what kind of political situation can be expected in future.

The opposition will exploit the matter to advance its political agenda. For this purpose, it has already announced to call an all-party conference in about a week.

On the other hand, traders and businessmen have given two two-day strike calls for the current month, obviously with the support of the opposition party that has strong links with this community.

Although the government will try to keep maximum people away from the strikes, it will not be an easy target to achieve. The price hike will make it easier for the opposition to bring people out on streets.

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman is determined to mount pressure on the government to step down during the current month. In case it did not, he would go for a march on Islamabad in October. He will try to make it a big event with the support of other opposition parties.

All this means that challenges for the government are growing.


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