Opposite senators rue govt’s ‘go-it-alone policy’

* Say govt kept parliament in dark over state institutions tussle, FATA bombardment

ISLAMABAD: The senators on Wednesday claimed the government has kept parliament in dark over the ongoing tussle between the state institutions, bombardment in the tribal areas against militants’ hideouts.
They also complained about that the prime minister does not come to parliament. “Even the federal ministers do not come to attend meetings of parliament’s standing committees,” said ANP’s Senator Afrasiab Khattak while speaking over Raza Rabbani’s motion to discuss the political situation in the country. He said the government carried out air strikes against militants in FATA without taking parliament into confidence, which is totally against the democratic norms. 
According to him, the 2008 general election was the beginning of democracy after a prolonged period of dictatorship, and the transition period still continues, which is why some people think that the “third force” may again derail democracy. However, he said that the major political parties have shown maturity and openly announced support for the government if someone tries to remove it unconstitutionally. Khattak said that to end the prevailing uncertainties, an in-camera session of parliament should be called in which all the parliamentarians be taken into confidence.
Speaking on the prevailing scenario, PML-Q’s Senator Kamil Ali Agha was of the view that if a code of conduct is formed for the media, the current situation may not recur. He said the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting has already been working on the issue for the last nine months, but could not finalise the code of conduct due to changes in PEMRA by the government. Agha said the controversy among the institutions is on the rise and asked the government to fulfil its responsibilities. “The government should boost morale of the security forces instead of supporting a TV channel because the security forces are protecting the country’s boundaries,” the PML-Q senator said.
Meanwhile, PML-N’s Senator Professor Sajid Mir said that accusing armed forces over the attack on anchorperson Hamid Mir was not something new, as the same thing has happened in the past, several times. “But the unique thing was holding of protest rallies in support of the forces by those political parties who are backed by the forces or banned organisations,” Mir observed. He claimed that the government is performing its duties properly and has formed a judicial commission to probe the Hamid Mir attack and also for action against a private TV channel.
The House also took up a calling attention notice, moved by PPP’s Senator Sughra Imam, regarding disbursement of only 57.4% funds allocated for the PSDP till May 16, as mentioned on the official website, whereas 85% should have been disbursed, according to the financial disbursement schedule of the Planning Commission. Federal minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan responded to the calling attention notice and assured the House that the remaining amount will be disbursed in due time.
Also, the entire opposition staged a two-minute token walk-out against a letter written by independent power producers (IPPs), threatening to increase electricity load shedding by up to 14 hours over non-clearance of the circular debt of Rs 350 billion. PPP Senator Mian Raza Rabbani raised the issue. Earlier, during the question-hour, Federal Minister for Railways Saad Rafique said the government will be receiving 58 locomotives from China, 14 of which have arrived in Pakistan, of which three could not work properly, but there are under warranty.  The minister claimed that appropriate investment was not made in Pakistan Railways during the last five years, which further deteriorated the corporation’s situation. However, he assured the House that Pakistan Railways losses are on a downward trajectory.

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