WEBDESK: Chairman Senate Raza Rabbani on Wednesday rejected Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Farhatullah Babar’s adjournment motion through which he had sought a discussion over the statement of a PML-N minister who claimed that the head of a premier intelligence agency was behind clandestine moves to destabilise the government.
In an interview to a foreign news agency on August 14, Senator Mushahidullah Khan, a government minister for climate change, had accused the then DG Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Lieutenant General Zaheerul Islam, of extending support to opposition politician Imran Khan to topple the government. Senator Babar, while terming the statement of the minister, who was later forced to quit, as a matter of grave concern for the democratic system, pressed for a debate.
Continuing his arguments on the admissibility of his motion, the PPP senator said the Senate Rules of Business did not bar a minister’s statement from becoming the basis of an adjournment motion. The parameters of admissibility in the rules, he added, were factors like being an issue of great public importance, relating to one definite issue and being a matter of recent occurrence.
“If the rules were silent on the subject one could rely on well known authorities on the practice and procedures of parliament such as M.N. Kaul and S.L. Shakdher which he said had often been also referred to by the chairman while sitting on the opposition benches,” he added.
He said that Kaul has identified issues such as those affecting the whole country, its safety and its interests as fit subjects for an adjournment motion, adding that his motion satisfied these conditions as the minister’s allegations impacted the entire country and brought to the fore a serious issue of disconnect between state authorities.
Babar said that according to Kaul, another primary purpose of an adjournment motion is to draw attention of and criticise the decision of the government if taken by the government on the issue under consideration. Since the government had taken the decision to sack Mushahidullah it too formed a genuine basis for admitting the adjournment motion for a discussion.
Arguing against that an adjournment motion is to be disallowed if it was based merely on a press statement, Babar quoted Kaul that there is no objection per se simply because the issue happens to be based on a newspaper report. He said the matter was a larger issue than merely an individual grievance which too merited it to be taken up in adjournment motion, according to Kaul. Taking an opposite view; however, the Chairman ruled that Kaul has also said that an adjournment motion does not lie when the facts are in dispute.
He said that Kaul also maintains that the chairman should accept the government version disputing the facts stated in the notice.
Rabbani said that since the government had disputed the press talk of Mushahidllah Khan it was a reason to disallow the motion. Rabbani also quoted a 1987 ruling giving by the then chairman Ghulam Ishaq Khan disallowing adjournment motion on the basis of a statement made in the media and disallowed the adjournment motion. Senator Sherry Rehman demanded the government to brief the house on the issue of cross border firing by Indian troops as well as on matters related to foreign policy. The Narendra Modi sarkar, she said, is under pressure from the RSS, and this was the reason the Indian prime mi minister is trying to build up pressure on Pakistan through such tactics which is not acceptable.
She recalled that the previous government used to hold in-camera sessions of both the houses on matters of national importance, but the incumbent government is not ready to take either house into confidence. She regretted that the delay in formation of the Cabinet Committee on National Security by the prime minister, saying this shows how seriously the government deals with matters of national security.
Chairman Senate said that he would direct the adviser to prime minister on national security and foreign affairs to brief the house on the issues raised by the senator by Friday.
The chairman also said that he is working on a ruling on the resignations of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) senators, who stepped down in protest against the ongoing Karachi operation last month. He said that he would announce the verdict by Friday why he did not accept the resignations of MQM lawmakers. The house was adjourned to meet again on Thursday at 3pm.
Source: Business Recorder