Democracy resolution pushed thru divided NA

national assembly of pakistanISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Monday passed pro-democracy resolution with majority vote despite resistance from the opposition, which staged a walkout saying the amendments proposed by them were not entertained.

The main opposition party in the house, PML-N and PPP-Sherpao boycotted the vote declaring the resolution an effort to save certain personalities and an attempt to use Parliament to take on other institutions.Speaking after the voting, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani congratulated the house on the passage of resolution. He ruled out clash with army or judiciary, but said nobody has the right to bulldoze people’s mandate. He also warned that if democracy is sent packing, all will go together. “If there is no democracy all will go in one box and there are no separate boxes.”

Dispelling the impression given by the opposition that all this was done to undermine judiciary, he recalled that it was him who restored judges soon after being nominated as prime minister and added that it was just like raising a red rag before a bull as Musharraf, who was to administer him oath of his office, could have reacted to his step.Gilani claimed that he endured hardships and worked for the cause of judiciary and always held judiciary in high esteem. He said: “I have been summoned by the SC and I will appear before the court only out of respect.”

He also dispelled the impression that they had summoned the NA session to seek protection against National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) and questioned that who had carved out the NRO. Gilani said that first-time unanimously elected prime minister was being targeted on the controversial ordinance while the real architect (Musharraf) was enjoying a luxurious life. And now he (Musharraf) was saying that the country required his services, he added.He said the government believes in supremacy and sovereignty of parliament. Difference of opinion could prop up among military, judiciary and executive but they all worked for democratic system and they would not let it derail, he added.

The prime minister also said that he does not need certificate on patriotism nor he needs fresh vote of confidence.He said he was proud to be committed to party’s ideology and would remain loyal to party come what may. Reiterating his commitment for democratic system, he said Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto laid down their lives for sake of democracy, and he was sitting on their seat and would continue to protect their legacy and protect constitution.“We want to make it clear that our species is endangered and it requires protection,” he said referring to change of party loyalty and questioned whether the defection from one party to another exonerates people from the constitutional obligations.

He also lauded the role of parliamentarians in supporting the democratic system. He said that he had come to the responsible parliamentarians committed for parliamentary system. “I got the opportunity to restore the constitution in its original form and pay tribute to leaders sitting in this house, he added.Earlier, after the rejection of the proposed amendments in the draft resolution, Leader of Opposition Ch Nisar Ali Khan made it clear that they would not let anyone put the whole system and the Parliament at stake for an individual and would not become part of the government in undermining or settling their scores with any institution using the platform of the Parliament.

He at the same time saw no threat to democracy and said that they would not repose confidence in the ruling elite, which according to him had lost their writ to rule due to their corruption, complete failure in governance. And quickly added that opposition was not having the requisite strength to bring no-trust against the government but the day they would even get near to the requisite number they would table no-trust move against the Prime Minister.Ch Nisar said that there was not threat to the incumbent political dispensation and the government was not serious in rectifying its follies and trying to undermine and intimidate some institution using the forum of Parliament which the opposition would not let them do.

He wondered that how a democratic government could oppose the amendment that they would implement the verdicts of the superior judiciary and unanimously adopted resolutions of the Parliament while at the same time how a government could reject the amendment seeking solutions to the problems being faced by the general public like gas and electricity outages and other problems of similar nature.Terming the four years in office of the incumbent coalition government a complete failure Ch. Nisar Ali Khan said that they could not give the incumbent leadership their support and that too in undermining another state institution only to cover up their administrative failures, blatant corruption and protection to a single ‘person’.

He made it loud and clear that there would be no threat to the ruling coalition from the opposition as time and again they had made it clear that opposition would not become part of any move to dislodge the incumbent dispensation through undemocratic mean.He, however, added that now keeping in view their unpardonable blunders and follies Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz would not lose any opportunity to dislodge the government through political means and asked the coalition partners to review their stance as they too have to come in masses one day.

Ch Nisar said that all the amendments proposed by his party were aimed at strengthening of the democratic order in the country and their rejection by the ruling alliance showed the seriousness of the ruling alliance toward the genuine problems confronting the nation.Criticising the statement of Prime Minister against Chief of Army Staff when the latter was on China’s visit and the follow up events Ch. Nisar Ali Khan said that government should itself inviting troubles and problems for it.

Referring to the statement of Prime Minister terming the reply of DG ISI and Chief of Army Staff in Supreme Court in violation of the set procedure Ch. Nisar Ali Khan said that after the statement of Prime Minister the Attorney General, who is the top law officer of the government, had termed reply of both DG ISI and COAS in line with the constitution and law.He said that the way Ministry of Law is being handled from outside and that too from a non-serious people such blunders could not be ruled out.He said that in order to save from such humiliations the government should follow the set rules and procedures for handling such matters as it would be in the interest of all.

Earlier the ruling coalition remained in interaction with PML-N legislators both in the house and outside in the lobby to evolve consensus on the pro-democracy resolution but could not convince the N-Leaguers to withdraw their proposed amendments.The only point on which the all sides agrees was the induction of ‘absolute power belongs to Allah’ in the paragraph where it was stated that ‘the house reiterates that sovereignty lies with the people of Pakistan and the Parliament is the repository of the collective wisdom of the people’.While the rest of the amendments presented by the N-League about implementation of all the previous resolutions of the Parliament, and complete adherence to the decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and to spruce up the governance with the aim to resolve the problems confronting the masses were turned down by the government when these were put to vote.

After the speech of the Leader of Opposition after rejection of their proposed amendments when the Speaker wanted to put the resolution to vote the Opposition members rose to their seats and asked the chair to let them speak on it.Chief of his own faction of Pakistan People’s Party Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao also rose to his seat and asked the chair to let him speak and later he was given time to speak.When the chair did not allowed opposition members give ample time to opposition MPs to express their views on the resolution and put it to vote the members soon after its passage with majority vote staged walkout from the house.

Earlier speaking on the resolution Aftab Ahmad Sherpao said that there was no need to present such a resolution and demanded of the government to announce fresh elections as the government had lost the mandate to rule because of their failure to come up to the expectations of the masses.In another development Jamiat-I-Ulema-I-Islam(Fazal) MNA Liaq Mohammad Khan stunned the house by saying that his party considered the resolution a right step in right direction and that they had extended full support to it. – Nation