Ministers absence irks Rabbani, offers to resign

Zahid Chaudhary

Islamabad

Chairman Senate Raza Rabbani Friday adjourned the proceedings of the upper sine die after expressing displeasure over the absence and non serious behavior of ministers from the house and non receipt of answers from the ministries.
Later, he also discontinued his duties as the chairman Senate and returned the government protocol.
“I say in clear words that as long as the House is not in order, it is adjourned. I stand by what I’ve said in the House,” said the chairman Senate. Earlier during the proceedings, he said he is ready to resign from his seat if the government has some reservations on him.
He also referred to tension between federation and provinces and said the upper house has always tried to maintain harmony between the two. He, however, said it appears that the government is not ready to accept constitutional status of the upper house.
“And if all these things, the degrading of Senate, if all this is happening because of me, then I am ready to resign. The House and its members should decide whether they want me to continue or they want me to resign,” he told reporters.
While expressing his anger at the absence of ministers from Senate sessions, Rabbani said that tensions between the federal and provincial governments have continued to increase.
He stated that the government was depriving the Senate of its constitutional rights. The chairman added that the situation in the centre was disturbed and constitutional requirements were not being fulfilled.
The Senate has tried to fulfill its constitutional duties to the best of its abilities,” Rabbani said. “It feels like the government is unable to accept the Senate’s powers.”
The chairman said that he tried his best to uphold the integrity and constitutional standing of the Senate, however, he realized that he was unable to do so.
Senator Col (R) Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi supported Rabbani in his stance and said all members of the Senate would resign if the chairman decided to quit. “The ministers are busy in their corrupt pursuits, they don’t have time to attend Senate sessions, “ Mashhadi said.
Before adjourning the session sine die, the chair also suspended the proceedings of the house during the question hour due to non receipt of answers by some ministries. Only the questions relating to the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmad were taken up during the proceedings of the house while rest of them were deferred.
Federal Minister Zahid Hamid, however said the government accords full respect to the upper house and has no intention to undermine the constitutional status of the upper house. He said we should try to work out the issues by sitting together.

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