Senators vow to guard democracy

ISLAMABAD: Terming the ongoing political situation as critical, the opposition senators on Tuesday vowed to stand guard against any move to derail democracy.
Continuing the debate on adjournment motion regarding discussion on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek sit-in, the opposition said the government had failed to negotiate with the PTI to resolve their grievances. 
PPP Senator Raza Rabbani said the present situation posed a serious threat to parliament and democracy. “The government should have taken the situation seriously despite that we had repeatedly requested it to engage the protesting parties in dialogue,” he added. “The situation which has emerged today could have been diluted through parliament and the elected representatives.” 
He said the opposition in Senate stands united for supremacy of the constitution and parliament. “We [senators] want to send a clear message that if anybody gets involved in adventurism against democracy and parliament, all political forces will stand against that move.” 
He said the Senate had always played a pivotal role against dictatorship. 
Praising the opposition for supporting democracy, Leader of the House in Senate Raja Zafarul Haq said the political situation was going from bad to worse. He regretted that the protesters were adding more and more demands to their list and PTI Chairman Imran Khan was not ready to hold talks to resolve the matter peacefully. The prime minister had visited Imran Khan’s house in Bani Gala and told him that his grievances would be removed through talks.
The PML-N senator also said Pervez Musharraf’s friends, now in Dr Tahirul Qadri’s fold, want to give safe passage to the former president. He also termed the PTI’s civil disobedience movement against the state. 
Earlier, PPP Senator Saeed Ghani said it was regrettable that both Imran and Qadri could not honour their commitment of not entering Red Zone. He said the PPP had urged the government to allow the PTI to hold its protest demonstration in Islamabad. He demanded that the government make public the court verdict over Model Town incident. 
MQM Senator Abdul Haseeb Khan advised the government to resolve the issue as soon as possible. 
Senator Kalsoom Parveen said such people should be included in the negotiation team who have a decision power.
PML-N Senator Rafiq Rajwana urged the PTI to restrict itself to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and make it a model province. 
Meanwhile, meeting of the parliamentary party of PPP in the Senate was held in the Senate’s Secretariat a few hours ahead of the senate session. Opposition leader in the Senate Aitzaz Ahsan and Senator Raza Rabbani jointly headed the meeting.
PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the meeting discussed the current political situation, particularly the situation arising out of the threats hurled by the leaders of the ‘azadi’ and ‘inqilab’ marches to enter Red Zone.
The PPP senators vowed to play their role in accordance with the guidelines of the party to defend and protect democracy. The meeting urged Aitzaz Ahsan and Raza Rabbani to take a lead in defusing the situation.

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