ISLAMABAD: National Assembly on Monday extended Pakistan Army (Amendment) Ordinance 2015, prior to exhaustion of 120 days constitutional period.
Two opposition parties Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, however, took up a different satnce on the issue.
The MQM also opted for brief agitation in the House and later walked out, although on the basis of a point which was declared invalid by the Chair as Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq explained that none other business was suspended for the budget debate instead the question hour and calling attention notice.
Soon after the resolution was moved to the House by Minister for Defense Khawaja Muhammad Asif, the MQM Parliamentary Leader in the House Rasheed Godel pointed out about suspension of agenda items other than the budget debate.
But, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar explained that only question hour and calling attention notices have been suspended as he mentioned to number of points of order raised to the House by the members occasionally even during the budget debate.
He said presenting resolution was a constitutional requirement with a timeline and the Constitution has precedence over the law and the law has precedence over the rules.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Speaker who was in the chair at that moment also explained that he had the powers under Rule 158 to allow any business in the House.
Therefore, he put the resolution to the House which was approved with a majority vote.
On passage of the resolution, Defense Minister Khawaja Asif said, these opposition parties – MQM and PTI – were afraid that this law will expose their unlawful activities. “Their opposition of the resolution was politically motivated as they were afraid of this law.”
This ordinance has already been moved to National Assembly in the form of a bill and as it has not been passed within the stipulated time, it is constitutional requirement to extend its period, he said. “We are just extending the time. Otherwise this bill has to come to this House for passage.”
In response Rasheed Godel said they were responsible members of the House and were present here only for strengthening democracy and the parliament.
Meanwhile, when the MQM members continued agitating, Speaker National Assembly came to the House and explained the position.
About point of another MQM member S A Iqbal Qadri, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said, this ordinance has been presented to National Assembly as a bill and it was responsibility of the House to take it up, prior to exhaustion of 120 days constitutional period.
“Whose fault it was if the law has not been passed. So the issue should not be played up. The bill is with the House and shall be taken up accordingly”, he added.
After the resolution was adopted, the MQM members walked out of the House.